Paths in Perl

Discussion in 'Perl' started by pradeep, Oct 17, 2005.

  1. pradeep

    pradeep Team Leader

    Apr 4, 2005
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    Kolkata, India
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    Different Operating Systems use different characters as their path separator when specifying directory and file paths:

    foo/bar/baz # *nix uses a /
    foo\bar\baz # Win32 uses a \
    foo:bar:baz # Mac OS 9 uses a :
    foo/bar/baz # Mac OS X uses a / (usually!)

    In Perl you can generally just use a / as your path separator (except on Mac OS 9, thanks Hanamaki). Why? Because Perl will automagically convert the / to the correct path separator for the system it is running on! This means that coding Windows paths like this

    $path = "\\foo\\bar\\baz";

    is not required. You can just use this:

    $path = "/foo/bar/baz";

    and things will be fine. In fact using \\ can be problematic, but you probably already know that :)

    If you want to display the expected system delimiter to a user (ie hide the fact that you are using / internally) you can just do something like this:

    my $perl_path = '/foo/bar/baz';
     (my $win_path = $perl_path) =~ tr!/!\\!;
     print "Perl still sees: $perl_path\n";
     print "But we can print: $win_path\n";
    If you need to do lots of conversions just write a sub like this:
     my $perl_path = '/foo/bar/baz';
     print "This is the Windows path: ", win_path
     ($perl_path), "\n";
     sub win_path {
     (my $path = shift) =~ tr!/!\\!;
     return $path;
    So there you have it. Paths in Perl. By using a / you make it much easier to port your code to another system.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2006

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