-- Perl 5.8.8 documentation --


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), to be modified by the current umask.

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: There are race conditions internal to the implementation of rmtree making it unsafe to use on directory trees which may be altered or moved while rmtree is running, and in particular on any directory trees with any path components or subdirectories potentially writable by untrusted users.

Additionally, if the third parameter is not TRUE and rmtree is interrupted, it may leave files and directories with permissions altered to allow deletion (and older versions of this module would even set files and directories to world-read/writable!)

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.


  • On Windows, if mkpath gives you the warning: No such file or directory, this may mean that you've exceeded your filesystem's maximum path length.


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