[Israel.pm] How to Best Process the Directory Components of a Path

Shlomi Fish shlomif at iglu.org.il
Thu Apr 3 10:44:27 PDT 2008

Hi all!

I'm trying to process the directory components of a path (as an array) so 

1. It will be portable. (Work on Unix, Windows, VMS, etc.)

2. It will keep the rest of the path components (if any) identical.

3. It will work on both relative and absolute paths.

If the processing is to keep only the directories after "long-dir" then:

UNIX : /hello/there/long-dir/another/myfile.txt ==> another/myfile.txt
DOS : C:\Hello\There\Long-Dir\Another\myfile.txt ==> another\myfile.txt

UNIX: ./hi/long-dir/another/myfile.txt ==> another/myfile.txt
DOS: .\hi\long-dir\another\myfile.txt ==> another\myfile.txt

To do this I turned to File::Spec and File::Basename and wrote the following 
code which seems insanely complicated. I marked the place where I do the 
actual processing using a callback:

use File::Spec;
use File::Basename;

sub _process_filename_dirs
    my ($self, $fn, $callback) = @_;

    my $basename = basename($fn);
    my $dirpath  = dirname($fn);

    my ($volume, $directories, $filename) = File::Spec->splitpath($dirpath, 

    # The actual manipulation.
    my $dirs = $callback->([File::Spec->splitdir($directories)]);

    my $final_dir =
            $volume, File::Spec->catdir(@$dirs), $filename

    if ($final_dir eq "")
        return $basename;
        return File::Spec->catfile(
            $final_dir, $basename


And so far I checked it works only on UNIXes (Linux in my case) and on 
relative paths.

So my questions are:

1. Is there a simpler way to do it?

2. Does Path::Class or File::Fu or a different abstraction provide an easier 
way to do it?

3. Is it still buggy?


I should note that this hairiness is not limited to Perl. Common Lisp has a 
built-in portable path-manipulation abstraction that's also relatively 
complicated. See:

* http://www.gigamonkeys.com/book/files-and-file-io.html
* http://www.gigamonkeys.com/book/practical-a-portable-pathname-library.html


	Shlomi Fish

Shlomi Fish      shlomif at iglu.org.il
Homepage:        http://www.shlomifish.org/

I'm not an actor - I just play one on T.V.

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