How to generate directory index files

Recently I needed simple utility to generate index files at so after a while I came up with two simple solutions, each of which has different strengths and weaknesses.

Apache directory theme

The easiest way is to use Apaxy as it is an extremely simple and beautiful solution.

This solution can be quickly modified to provide custom welcome message, icons, or style sheet. However please note that it is not possible to alter the generated directory listing.

Shell script

Second solution is slightly more complicated as it uses custom shell script to generate index files but provides more control over generated HTML code.

It uses Twitter Bootstrap framework to provide good looking and responsive user interface, but you need to rerun script after every change to update index files.

# BASH script designed to generate index files using 
# Twitter Bootstrap []

# Notes:
# * Script will ignore "img" and "css" directories and "index.html" file
# * Remember to copy Twitter Bootstrap files (css,img)

# Sample usage:
# cd /var/www/downloads

# web root directory, 
# it will be used to generate URLs
# ""           - root directory
# "/downloads" - '/downloads' subdirectory

# template settings
title=" - briefcase"

# generate header part of the HTML file
function header {
  cat << EOF
<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
    <meta charset="utf-8">
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">

    <link href="$root_directory/css/bootstrap.min.css" rel="stylesheet">
    <link href="$root_directory/css/bootstrap-custom.css" rel="stylesheet">
    <link href="$root_directory/css/bootstrap-responsive.min.css" rel="stylesheet">

    <div class="navbar navbar-inverse navbar-fixed-top">
      <div class="navbar-inner">
        <div class="container">
          <span class="brand">$brand</span>

    <div class="container"> 
      <div class="page-header"><h1>$title</h1></div>

# generate footer part of the HTML file
function footer {
  cat << EOF
    </div> <!-- /container -->

# create index file for each directory (ignore ./css and ./img directories)
find . -type d -not -path "*/img" -not -path "*/css" | while read directory; do
  # remove "./" from the beginning of the path
  # index file

  # create/truncate index file
  : > $index_file

  # append header to the index file
  header >> $index_file

  # append "Up to higher level directory" link
  echo "<div class=\"row\"><div class=\"span12\">" >> $index_file
  if [ "$directory" != "." ]; then
    echo "<h2 class=\"muted\">${directory}</h2><hr/>" >> $index_file
    echo "<i class=\"icon-arrow-up\"></i> <a href=\"../index.html\">Up to higher level directory</a>" >> $index_file
    echo "<h2 class=\"muted\">root directory</h2><hr/>" >> $index_file
    echo "<i class=\"icon-arrow-up\"></i> Up to higher level directory" >> $index_file
  echo "</div></div>" >> $index_file

  # append empty row
  echo "<div class=\"row\"><div class=\"span12\"><br/></div></div>" >> $index_file

  # generate content
  while read file
    if [ -d "$directory/$file" ]; then
      content+="<div class=\"row\">"
      if [ "$directory" == "." ]; then
        content+="<div class=\"span12\"><div class=\"directory\"><a href=\"$root_directory/$file/index.html\">$file</a></div></div>"
        content+="<div class=\"span12\"><div class=\"directory\"><a href=\"$root_directory/$directory/$file/index.html\">$file</a></div></div>"
      content+="<div class=\"span12\"><div class=\"type\"><i class=\"icon-folder-open\"></i> Directory</div></div>"
    elif [ -f "$directory/$file" ]; then
      file_type=$(file -b "$directory/$file")
      file_size=$(du -h "$directory/$file" | cut -f1)
      content+="<div class=\"row\">"
      if [ "$directory" == "." ]; then
        content+="<div class=\"span10\"><div class=\"file\"><a href=\"$root_directory/$file/index.html\">$file</a></div></div>"
        content+="<div class=\"span10\"><div class=\"file\"><a href=\"$root_directory/$directory/$file/index.html\">$file</a></div></div>"
      content+="<div class=\"span2\"><div class=\"type\"><i class=\"icon-hdd\"></i> $file_size</div></div>"      
      content+="<div class=\"row\">"            
      content+="<div class=\"span12\"><div class=\"type\"><i class=\" icon-info-sign\"></i> $file_type</div></div>"                  
  done < <(ls -1 --group-directories-first $directory --ignore=index.html --ignore=css --ignore=img

  # append content to the index file
  echo $content >> $index_file

  # append footer to the index file
  footer >> $index_file
Download make_index.tgz archive to play with it.
Milosz Galazka's Picture

About Milosz Galazka

Milosz is a Linux Foundation Certified Engineer working for a successful Polish company as a system administrator and a long time supporter of Free Software Foundation and Debian operating system.

Gdansk, Poland