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beginning_php thread: Re: chdir() (fully explained)

Message #1 by Francisco de Jesus Orozco Ruiz <fjor@g...> on Wed, 11 Jul 2001 09:19:42 -0500 (CDT)
I failed to see any explanation about current directory, chdir() and

getcwd(). Here is my little contribution.

The current directory is the default directory when any program

wants to make a reference to a file without the full path of the file.

As an example, suppose my program (or script or whatever) has a

current directory of /var/apache/htdocs. If I refer to a file 

like friends.dat it will be looked up in that directory, so, 

$fp = fopen("friends.dat", "r");

will open /var/apache/htdocs, because the system guesses it will

be in the current directory. If it is not there, there will be an


The current directory, then, is a mechanism to abbreviate filenames

by not having to write the full path of the file.

The function chdir() lets us change the current directory, so

$result = chdir("/data/files");

will make /data/files the new default path to search for files that

haven't the full path in its name. $result will be FALSE if unable

to change, as when the directory doesn't exists.

The function getcwd() returns the current directory:

$curdir = getcwd();

The variable $curdir will contain the default directory; in this

case, will be "/data/files".

To determine if a file has a fullpath or not, the system looks

if the filename starts with the "root" directory: / in UN*X, 

\ in Windows. This way, if the current dir is c:\data\images, 

saying \windows\media (is a full path!) will be used

directly. But using windows\media will prepend the current directory

to build c:\data\images\windows\media as the filename!

Note: Some of these functions appear in PHP 4 or newer! (even

exist a "posix_getcwd()" for UN*X systems)

For more information and useful tips, I suggest to visit:


and write any of this functions in the search box and

press enter. It'll show the sintax, versions where they are

valid and code chunks using them.


Message #2 by Paul Agin <pagin@k...> on Wed, 11 Jul 2001 10:01:31 -0400
OK, here's even more details...

In Windows, the current directory is always checked first. PHP4 acts like

Windows in this respect. Also, if the file is not found in the current

directory, PHP4 will search the "include_path" specified in the "php.ini" file.

(In Linux, unless the current directory is in your path, you must use "./" in

front of the file. The Windows method is convenient, but the Linux method is

more flexible.)

Using an absolute path: cd /var/www/html/PHPCode

This changes directory to /var/www/html/PHPCode no matter where you start from.

Using a relative path: cd ch15

Moves up one directory from /var/www/html/PHPCode to /var/www/html/PHPCode/ch15.

Using a relative path: cd ../../../cgi-bin

This moves back three directories, then it moves up to the /var/www/cgi-bin

directory, which is parallel to the /var/www/html directory.

As stated before, the current working directory is the directory that your

script is in when you execute it.

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