Globbing files including dot-files

Normally globbing for the wildcard * will find all files in a directory except for ones beginning with a .. Sometimes I need to get all files including the dot-files. The pattern .* will find these hidden files, but will also include . and .., referring to the directory and its parent. As I’ve learned in the past, this can be dangerous with commands like rm, (i.e. you running rm -rf .* to remove dot-files will remove more than expected). Today, needing to get all files in a particular path in PHP, I sought a solution. A post on a Perl forum gave me a solution using curly braces: {.??*,.[!.],*}. Braces basically allow multiple comma-separated patterns to be evaluated. The three patterns are:

  1. .??* matches a dot followed by two characters followed by any number of characters.
  2. .[!.] matches a dot followed by a single character that isn’t a dot. This is needed since the previous pattern doesn’t match this case.
  3. * is the normal wildcard glob, matching all non-dot-files.

In PHP, the glob() function requires the GLOB_BRACE flag to use braces. An example might look like: $files = glob($path . '/{.??*,.[!.],*}', GLOB_BRACE);. This did exactly what I wanted.

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Toby

I am a quiet person from Northeast Ohio. I work as a web developer. I like computers, music, and many other things.

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