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Manual Reference Pages  -  PATH::CLASS (3)

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Path::Class - Cross-platform path specification manipulation



version 0.36


  use Path::Class;
  my $dir  = dir(foo, bar);       # Path::Class::Dir object
  my $file = file(bob, file.txt); # Path::Class::File object
  # Stringifies to foo/bar on Unix, foo\bar on Windows, etc.
  print "dir: $dir\n";
  # Stringifies to bob/file.txt on Unix, bob\file.txt on Windows
  print "file: $file\n";
  my $subdir  = $dir->subdir(baz);  # foo/bar/baz
  my $parent  = $subdir->parent;      # foo/bar
  my $parent2 = $parent->parent;      # foo
  my $dir2 = $file->dir;              # bob

  # Work with foreign paths
  use Path::Class qw(foreign_file foreign_dir);
  my $file = foreign_file(Mac, :foo:file.txt);
  print $file->dir;                   # :foo:
  print $file->as_foreign(Win32);   # foo\file.txt
  # Interact with the underlying filesystem:
  # $dir_handle is an IO::Dir object
  my $dir_handle = $dir->open or die "Cant read $dir: $!";
  # $file_handle is an IO::File object
  my $file_handle = $file->open($mode) or die "Cant read $file: $!";


Path::Class is a module for manipulation of file and directory specifications (strings describing their locations, like /home/ken/foo.txt or C:\Windows\Foo.txt) in a cross-platform manner. It supports pretty much every platform Perl runs on, including Unix, Windows, Mac, VMS, Epoc, Cygwin, OS/2, and NetWare.

The well-known module File::Spec also provides this service, but it’s sort of awkward to use well, so people sometimes avoid it, or use it in a way that won’t actually work properly on platforms significantly different than the ones they’ve tested their code on.

In fact, Path::Class uses File::Spec internally, wrapping all the unsightly details so you can concentrate on your application code. Whereas File::Spec provides functions for some common path manipulations, Path::Class provides an object-oriented model of the world of path specifications and their underlying semantics. File::Spec doesn’t create any objects, and its classes represent the different ways in which paths must be manipulated on various platforms (not a very intuitive concept). Path::Class creates objects representing files and directories, and provides methods that relate them to each other. For instance, the following File::Spec code:

 my $absolute = File::Spec->file_name_is_absolute(
                  File::Spec->catfile( @dirs, $file )

can be written using Path::Class as

 my $absolute = Path::Class::File->new( @dirs, $file )->is_absolute;

or even as

 my $absolute = file( @dirs, $file )->is_absolute;

Similar readability improvements should happen all over the place when using Path::Class.

Using Path::Class can help solve real problems in your code too - for instance, how many people actually take the volume (like C: on Windows) into account when writing File::Spec-using code? I thought not. But if you use Path::Class, your file and directory objects will know what volumes they refer to and do the right thing.

The guts of the Path::Class code live in the Path::Class::File and Path::Class::Dir modules, so please see those modules’ documentation for more details about how to use them.


The following functions are exported by default.
file A synonym for Path::Class::File->new.
dir A synonym for Path::Class::Dir->new.
If you would like to prevent their export, you may explicitly pass an empty list to perl’s use, i.e. use Path::Class ().

The following are exported only on demand.
foreign_file A synonym for Path::Class::File->new_foreign.
foreign_dir A synonym for Path::Class::Dir->new_foreign.
tempdir Create a new Path::Class::Dir instance pointed to temporary directory.

  my $temp = Path::Class::tempdir(CLEANUP => 1);

A synonym for Path::Class::Dir->new(File::Temp::tempdir(@_)).

Notes on Cross-Platform Compatibility

Although it is much easier to write cross-platform-friendly code with this module than with File::Spec, there are still some issues to be aware of.
o On some platforms, notably VMS and some older versions of DOS (I think), all filenames must have an extension. Thus if you create a file called foo/bar and then ask for a list of files in the directory foo, you may find a file called bar. instead of the bar you were expecting. Thus it might be a good idea to use an extension in the first place.


Ken Williams,


Copyright (c) Ken Williams. All rights reserved.

This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.


Path::Class::Dir, Path::Class::File, File::Spec
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perl v5.20.3 PATH::CLASS (3) 2016-04-03

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