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filename(n)		     Tcl Built-In Commands		   filename(n)

______________________________________________________________________________

NAME
       filename - File name conventions supported by Tcl commands
_________________________________________________________________

INTRODUCTION
       All  Tcl	 commands  and	C procedures that take file names as arguments
       expect the file names to be in one of three  forms,  depending  on  the
       current	platform.   On	each  platform, Tcl supports file names in the
       standard forms(s) for that platform.  In addition,  on  all  platforms,
       Tcl supports a Unix-like syntax intended to provide a convenient way of
       constructing simple file names.	However, scripts that are intended  to
       be  portable  should  not  assume  a  particular	 form  for file names.
       Instead, portable scripts must use the file split and  file  join  com‐
       mands  to  manipulate  file  names  (see the file manual entry for more
       details).

PATH TYPES
       File names are grouped into three general types based on	 the  starting
       point  for  the	path used to specify the file: absolute, relative, and
       volume-relative.	 Absolute names are  completely	 qualified,  giving  a
       path to the file relative to a particular volume and the root directory
       on that volume.	Relative names are unqualified, giving a path  to  the
       file  relative to the current working directory.	 Volume-relative names
       are partially qualified, either giving the path relative	 to  the  root
       directory  on  the current volume, or relative to the current directory
       of the specified volume.	 The file pathtype  command  can  be  used  to
       determine the type of a given path.

PATH SYNTAX
       The  rules  for	native	names  depend on the value reported in the Tcl
       array element tcl_platform(platform):

       mac	 On Apple Macintosh systems, Tcl supports two  forms  of  path
		 names.	 The normal Mac style names use colons as path separa‐
		 tors.	Paths may be relative or absolute, and file names  may
		 contain  any  character  other	 than  colon.  A leading colon
		 causes the rest of the path to be interpreted relative to the
		 current directory.  If a path contains a colon that is not at
		 the beginning, then the path is interpreted  as  an  absolute
		 path.	 Sequences  of two or more colons anywhere in the path
		 are used to construct relative paths where :: refers  to  the
		 parent	 of the current directory, ::: refers to the parent of
		 the parent, and so forth.

		 In addition to Macintosh style names,	Tcl  also  supports  a
		 subset	 of  Unix-like	names.	 If a path contains no colons,
		 then it is interpreted like a Unix path.  Slash  is  used  as
		 the  path  separator.	 The file name . refers to the current
		 directory, and .. refers to the parent of the current	direc‐
		 tory.	However, some names like / or /.. have no mapping, and
		 are interpreted as Macintosh  names.	In  general,  commands
		 that  generate	 file names will return Macintosh style names,
		 but commands that accept file names will take both  Macintosh
		 and Unix-style names.

		 The  following	 examples  illustrate  various	forms  of path
		 names:

		 :		Relative path to the current folder.

		 MyFile		Relative path to a file named  MyFile  in  the
				current folder.

		 MyDisk:MyFile	Absolute  path	to  a file named MyFile on the
				device named MyDisk.

		 :MyDir:MyFile	Relative path to  a  file  name	 MyFile	 in  a
				folder named MyDir in the current folder.

		 ::MyFile	Relative  path	to  a file named MyFile in the
				folder above the current folder.

		 :::MyFile	Relative path to a file named  MyFile  in  the
				folder two levels above the current folder.

		 /MyDisk/MyFile Absolute  path	to  a file named MyFile on the
				device named MyDisk.

		 ../MyFile	Relative path to a file named  MyFile  in  the
				folder above the current folder.

       unix	 On  Unix  platforms, Tcl uses path names where the components
		 are separated by slashes.  Path  names	 may  be  relative  or
		 absolute, and file names may contain any character other than
		 slash.	 The file names . and .. are special and refer to  the
		 current  directory  and  the  parent of the current directory
		 respectively.	Multiple adjacent slash characters are	inter‐
		 preted	 as a single separator.	 The following examples illus‐
		 trate various forms of path names:

		 /		Absolute path to the root directory.

		 /etc/passwd	Absolute path to the file named passwd in  the
				directory etc in the root directory.

		 .		Relative path to the current directory.

		 foo		Relative  path	to the file foo in the current
				directory.

		 foo/bar	Relative path to the file bar in the directory
				foo in the current directory.

		 ../foo		Relative path to the file foo in the directory
				above the current directory.

       windows	 On Microsoft Windows platforms, Tcl supports both drive-rela‐
		 tive and UNC style names.  Both / and \ may be used as direc‐
		 tory separators in either type of name.  Drive-relative names
		 consist  of  an optional drive specifier followed by an abso‐
		 lute or relative path.	 UNC paths  follow  the	 general  form
		 \\servername\sharename\path\file,  but must at the very least
		 contain the server  and  share	 components,  i.e.   \\server‐
		 name\sharename.   In  both forms, the file names . and .. are
		 special and refer to the current directory and the parent  of
		 the  current  directory respectively.	The following examples
		 illustrate various forms of path names:

		 \\Host\share/file
				Absolute UNC path to a file called file in the
				root  directory	 of  the export point share on
				the host Host.	Note that repeated use of file
				dirname	 on  this path will give //Host/share,
				and will never give just /fB//Host/fR.

		 c:foo		Volume-relative path to a file foo in the cur‐
				rent directory on drive c.

		 c:/foo		Absolute path to a file foo in the root direc‐
				tory of drive c.

		 foo\bar	Relative path to a file bar in the foo	direc‐
				tory  in  the current directory on the current
				volume.

		 \foo		Volume-relative path to a file foo in the root
				directory of the current volume.

		 \\foo		Volume-relative path to a file foo in the root
				directory of the current volume.  This is  not
				a  valid  UNC  path, so the assumption is that
				the extra backslashes are superfluous.

TILDE SUBSTITUTION
       In addition to the file name rules described above, Tcl	also  supports
       csh-style tilde substitution.  If a file name starts with a tilde, then
       the file name will be interpreted as if the first element  is  replaced
       with  the  location  of	the home directory for the given user.	If the
       tilde is followed immediately by a separator, then the  $HOME  environ‐
       ment  variable  is  substituted.	  Otherwise the characters between the
       tilde and the next separator are taken as a user name, which is used to
       retrieve the user's home directory for substitution.

       The  Macintosh  and Windows platforms do not support tilde substitution
       when a user name follows the tilde.  On these  platforms,  attempts  to
       use  a  tilde  followed	by a user name will generate an error that the
       user does not exist when Tcl attempts to interpret  that	 part  of  the
       path  or	 otherwise access the file.  The behaviour of these paths when
       not trying to interpret them is the same as on Unix.  File  names  that
       have  a	tilde  without a user name will be correctly substituted using
       the $HOME environment variable, just like for Unix.

PORTABILITY ISSUES
       Not all file systems are case sensitive, so scripts should  avoid  code
       that  depends  on  the case of characters in a file name.  In addition,
       the character sets allowed on different devices may differ, so  scripts
       should  choose  file names that do not contain special characters like:
       <>:"/\|.	 The safest approach is to use names  consisting  of  alphanu‐
       meric  characters only.	Also Windows 3.1 only supports file names with
       a root of no more than 8 characters and an extension of no more than  3
       characters.

       On Windows platforms there are file and path length restrictions.  Com‐
       plete paths or filenames longer than about 260 characters will lead  to
       errors in most file operations.

KEYWORDS
       current directory, absolute file name, relative file name, volume-rela‐
       tive file name, portability

SEE ALSO
       file(n), glob(n)

Tcl				      7.5			   filename(n)
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