Thursday, November 5, 2015

Glob in Java file related match

Globs are not regular expression. Glob is simpler and earlier than regular expression. For historical reasons, glob are more used as file name or file path filtering.

In Java 7 NIO package has 2 places that glob appears as file names or file path filter. One is when you create a PathMatcher to test if a java.nio.file.Path instance matches a patten like

Path path = Paths.get("");
PathMatcher matcher = FileSystems.getDefault().getPathMatcher("glob:*.java");
boolean isJavaFile = matcher.matches(path); // true

The other is when create a DirectoryStream to iterate all files and subdirectories( not including files under subdirectories, just like the command 'dir' or 'ls')

Path dir = Paths.get("/tmp");
try (DirectoryStream<path> stream = Files.newDirectoryStream(dir,"[vt]*")) {
for (Path path : stream) {
System.out.println(path.getFileName()); // only files start with 'v' or 't'

Here are the rules for glob:

  • * match any char except a directory boundary
  • ** match any char include a directory boundary
  • ? match any ONE char
  • [] same as regular express, like [0-9] match any ONE digit.
  • {} match a collection of patten separated by comma ','. Such as {A*, b} means either a string start with 'A' or a single char 'b'.

More examples:

pathglobmath result


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Has been a senior software developer, project manager for 10+ years. Dedicate himself to Alcatel-Lucent and China Telecom for delivering software solutions.


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