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Author image Jarkko Hietaniemi


File::Path - create or remove directory trees


    use File::Path;

    mkpath(['/foo/bar/baz', 'blurfl/quux'], 1, 0711);
    rmtree(['foo/bar/baz', 'blurfl/quux'], 1, 1);


The mkpath function provides a convenient way to create directories, even if your mkdir kernel call won't create more than one level of directory at a time. mkpath takes three arguments:

  • the name of the path to create, or a reference to a list of paths to create,

  • a boolean value, which if TRUE will cause mkpath to print the name of each directory as it is created (defaults to FALSE), and

  • the numeric mode to use when creating the directories (defaults to 0777)

It returns a list of all directories (including intermediates, determined using the Unix '/' separator) created.

If a system error prevents a directory from being created, then the mkpath function throws a fatal error with Carp::croak. This error can be trapped with an eval block:

  eval { mkpath($dir) };
  if ($@) {
    print "Couldn't create $dir: $@";

Similarly, the rmtree function provides a convenient way to delete a subtree from the directory structure, much like the Unix command rm -r. rmtree takes three arguments:

  • the root of the subtree to delete, or a reference to a list of roots. All of the files and directories below each root, as well as the roots themselves, will be deleted.

  • a boolean value, which if TRUE will cause rmtree to print a message each time it examines a file, giving the name of the file, and indicating whether it's using rmdir or unlink to remove it, or that it's skipping it. (defaults to FALSE)

  • a boolean value, which if TRUE will cause rmtree to skip any files to which you do not have delete access (if running under VMS) or write access (if running under another OS). This will change in the future when a criterion for 'delete permission' under OSs other than VMS is settled. (defaults to FALSE)

It returns the number of files successfully deleted. Symlinks are simply deleted and not followed.

NOTE: If the third parameter is not TRUE, rmtree is unsecure in the face of failure or interruption. Files and directories which were not deleted may be left with permissions reset to allow world read and write access. Note also that the occurrence of errors in rmtree can be determined only by trapping diagnostic messages using $SIG{__WARN__}; it is not apparent from the return value. Therefore, you must be extremely careful about using rmtree($foo,$bar,0 in situations where security is an issue.


Tim Bunce <Tim.Bunce@ig.co.uk> and Charles Bailey <bailey@newman.upenn.edu>