Parsing problems: A journey from a text file to a directory tree

Martin M. martinmichel at
Sun Sep 16 17:54:34 CEST 2007

Hi everybody,

Some of my colleagues want me to write a script for easy folder and
subfolder creation on the Mac.

The script is supposed to scan a text file containing directory trees
in the following format:

[New client]
|-Delivery notes

As you can see, the folder hierarchy is expressed by the amounts of
minuses, each section header framed by brackets (like in Windows
config files).

After the scan process, the script is supposed to show a dialog, where
the user can choose from the different sections (e.g. 'Alphabet',
'Months', 'New client' etc.). Then the script will create the
corresponding folder hierarchy in the currently selected folder (done
via AppleScript).

But currently I simply don't know how to parse these folder lists and
how to save them in an array accordingly.

First I thought of an array like this:

dirtreedb = {'New client': {'Invoices': {}, 'Offers': {'Denied': {},
'Accpeted': {}}, 'Delivery notes': {}}}

But this doesn't do the trick, as I also have to save the hierarchy
level of the current folder as well...

Argh, I really don't get my head around this problem and I need your
help. I have the feeling, that the answer is not that complicated, but
I just don't get it right now...

Your desperate,


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