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How come when I open a file read-write it wipes it out?

by faq_monk (Initiate)
on Oct 08, 1999 at 00:23 UTC ( #655=perlfaq nodetype: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

Current Perl documentation can be found at perldoc.perl.org.

Here is our local, out-dated (pre-5.6) version:

Because you're using something like this, which truncates the file and then gives you read-write access:

    open(FH, "+> /path/name");          # WRONG (almost always)

Whoops. You should instead use this, which will fail if the file doesn't exist. Using ``>'' always clobbers or creates. Using ``<'' never does either. The ``+'' doesn't change this.

Here are examples of many kinds of file opens. Those using sysopen() all assume

    use Fcntl;

To open file for reading:

    open(FH, "< $path")                                 || die $!;
    sysopen(FH, $path, O_RDONLY)                        || die $!;

To open file for writing, create new file if needed or else truncate old file:

    open(FH, "> $path") || die $!;
    sysopen(FH, $path, O_WRONLY|O_TRUNC|O_CREAT)        || die $!;
    sysopen(FH, $path, O_WRONLY|O_TRUNC|O_CREAT, 0666)  || die $!;

To open file for writing, create new file, file must not exist:

    sysopen(FH, $path, O_WRONLY|O_EXCL|O_CREAT)         || die $!;
    sysopen(FH, $path, O_WRONLY|O_EXCL|O_CREAT, 0666)   || die $!;

To open file for appending, create if necessary:

    open(FH, ">> $path") || die $!;
    sysopen(FH, $path, O_WRONLY|O_APPEND|O_CREAT)       || die $!;
    sysopen(FH, $path, O_WRONLY|O_APPEND|O_CREAT, 0666) || die $!;

To open file for appending, file must exist:

    sysopen(FH, $path, O_WRONLY|O_APPEND)               || die $!;

To open file for update, file must exist:

    open(FH, "+< $path")                                || die $!;
    sysopen(FH, $path, O_RDWR)                          || die $!;

To open file for update, create file if necessary:

    sysopen(FH, $path, O_RDWR|O_CREAT)                  || die $!;
    sysopen(FH, $path, O_RDWR|O_CREAT, 0666)            || die $!;

To open file for update, file must not exist:

    sysopen(FH, $path, O_RDWR|O_EXCL|O_CREAT)           || die $!;
    sysopen(FH, $path, O_RDWR|O_EXCL|O_CREAT, 0666)     || die $!;

To open a file without blocking, creating if necessary:

    sysopen(FH, "/tmp/somefile", O_WRONLY|O_NDELAY|O_CREAT)
            or die "can't open /tmp/somefile: $!":

Be warned that neither creation nor deletion of files is guaranteed to be an atomic operation over NFS. That is, two processes might both successful create or unlink the same file! Therefore O_EXCL isn't so exclusive as you might wish.

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