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Manual Reference Pages  -  MAC::FILESPEC::UNIXISH (3)

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Mac::FileSpec::Unixish -- Unixish-compatability in file specifications



  use Mac::FileSpec::Unixish; # exports unixify and nativize
  @input = map( unixify($_), @ARGV);
  foreach $item (@input) {
    my $_native_item = nativize($item);
    next unless
             $item =~ m<([^/]+)$>s # assumes / is the path separator
             and -f $_native_item;
    printf("File %s is %d bytes long...\n", $1, -s _ );
    open(IN, "<$_native_item")
      || die "Cant open $_native_item : $!\n";
    print "First line: ", scalar(<IN>);


Mac::FileSpec::Unixish provides two functions, nativize and unixify (both of which are exported by default), that will allow you to denote and manipulate pathspecs in Unixish style, and let you convert these pathspecs to and from the native OS’s format for conveying such things. It currently assumes that if you are not running under MacOS (as reported in $^O), you must be on a Unix box. If you want better, I suggest using File::Spec. (In essence, I wrote Mac::FileSpec::Unixish as a cheap hack to get around using File::Spec.)

Using this library, you can, in your code, refer to files using a Unixish notation, a la:

  $foo = "../analyses/ziz.txt";
  open(OUT, > . nativize($foo) ) || die "Couldnt open $foo \: $!";

Under Unix, nativize($foo) will be simply ../analyses/ziz.txt (nativize and unixify are nearly no-ops under Unixes); but under MacOS it will be ::analyses:ziz.txt.

Incidentally, nativize(unixify($item)) is always eq $item, for all (defined, non-undef) values of $item, regardless of whether or not this is performed under MacOS. In other words, this:

  @items = map(unixify($_), @ARGV);
  foreach $one (@items) {
    print "$one => ", -s nativize($one), " bytes\n";
    my $one_copy = $one;
    $one_copy =~ s/[^/]+$//s;
    print " in the directory $one_copy";

will work equally well under MacOS as under Unix, regardless of the fact that items in @ARGV will be in foo:bar:baz format if run under MacOS, and /foo/bar/baz format if run under Unix.

This portability is the entire point of this library.

(This code will work even if run under MacOS and if @ARGV contains a pathspec like Sean:reports:by week:5/5/98. unixify encodes those slashes (as \e2f, if you’re curious) so that they won’t be misunderstood as path separators in the Unixish representation — see GUTS, below, for the gory details.)

This library also provides (but does not by default export) a function Mac::FileSpec::Unixish::under_macos(), which returns true if you’re running under MacOS, and false otherwise. You can use that in cases like:

  my $home =
    Mac::FileSpec::Unixish::under_macos() ?  /Sean/ : ~/ ;


This library exists so that a careful programmer who knows what filespecs are legal and meaningful both under Mac and under Unix, can write code that manipulates files and filenawes, and have this code work equally well under MacOS and under Unix.

That’s all this library is for, and that’s all it does.

This library doesn’t overload anything, so don’t go thinking that you can go

  open(OUT, >../foo/bar.txt");

under MacOS.

Proper use of this library means that every time you pass a file specification to any file operation (from chdir to -s to opendir), you should pass the Unixish designation thru nativize — and every time you get a file spec from the OS (thru @ARGV or StandardFile::GetFolder("Select a folder") or whatever), that you pass it thru unixify to get the Unixish representation.

nativize and unixify are the only two functions this module exports.

This library doesn’t try to interpret Unixish pathspecs with <B>anyB> semantics other than the above-described — to wit, ~s in filespecs (as in ~/.plan or ~luser/.plan) aren’t expanded, since there is no equivalent meaning under MacOS.

And if you say /tmp/, you will get tmp: under MacOS — and this is probably not what you want.

This (coupled with the fact that MacOS has nothing like /, save as a notational (or notional) base for the mounted volumes) almost definitely means that <B>you don’t want to use any absolute pathspecs like /tmp/ or /usr/home/luser or /Sean/System Folder, or pathspecs based on ~ or ~luserB>. In other words, your pathspecs should either come from outside the program (as from %ENV, @ARGV, or things you devise based on them), or should be relative.

You have been warned!


Here are some of the icky details of how this module works.

Unixish path specification means pathspecs expressed with the meanings that Unix assigns to ’/’, ’.’, and ’..’ — with the additional bit of semantics that the escape character (ASCII 0x1B, a.k.a. "\e") and two hex ([a-fA-F0-9]) characters after it denote the one character with that hex code.

In other words, it’s just like URL-encoding, but with ESC instead of %. I included this quoting mechanism so it would be possible to denote, in Unixish notation, Mac filenames with /s in them. Example:

  "Foovol:stuff:05/98" -> "/Foovol/stuff/05\e2f98"

But actual hardcoding of \e2f is unwise, since if you have:

  open(OUT, > . nativize("/Foovol/stuff/05\e2f98"));

This will Do What You Want only if you’re under MacOS, but under Unix it will instead try to write to /Foovol/stuff/05/98.

As mentioned above, nativize(unixify($item)) is always $item, for all values of $item, and regardless of whether or not this is performed under MacOS.

But the inverse (i.e., whether unixify(nativize($item))) is not necessarily true! In a rather dramatic case, nativize("/") happens to yield " under MacOS, for many, many reasons. Other, more mundane cases include the fact that ../foo and ./../foo and, for that matter, .././foo" are all synonyms for the same thing, and the (notational if not meaningful) distinction between them may be smashed — under MacOS, they’d all end up ::foo.

    A Note on Trailers

Note that when a trailing MacOS : means ’directory’ (e.g., Sean:reports:, it is represented as a trailing ’/’ in the Unixish representation, and vice versa. When I’m writing code, I always use a trailer (a trailing : or /) when accessing a directory (as is opendir(FOODIR, ":foo:bar:") or opendir(FOODIR, "./foo/bar/") ). Now, this is generally unnecessary; opendir(FOODIR, ":foo:bar:") and opendir(FOODIR, ":foo:bar:") do the same thing, just as opendir(FOODIR, "foo/bar/") and opendir(FOODIR, "foo/bar") do the same thing on (absolutely all?) Unix boxes.

However, when accessing the root drive of a MacOS volume, the root directory of a volume, like foo, you should use the trailer — opendir(FOODIR, "foo:"), not opendir(FOODIR, "foo").

It’s odd to note that MacOS seems inconsistent about using the trailer. If you drop the Finder icon for the volume foo onto a droplet, it’ll see foo: in @ARGV — with the trailer. But if you drop the Finder icon for the directory foo:bar (or any other non-volume-root directory I’ve tested this on) onto a droplet, it’ll see foo:bar in @ARGV — no trailer.


Copyright 1998-2000, Sean M. Burke, all rights reserved.

You may use and redistribute this library under the same terms as Perl itself.


Sean M. Burke
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perl v5.20.3 MAC::FILESPEC::UNIXISH (3) 2004-12-30

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