How to delete a list (collection) of files

Perl FAQ: How do I delete a list of files in a Perl script?

This is very similar to deleting one file in a Perl program. You just use Perl's unlink function, but this time pass it a list of filenames. Let's take a look at a simple example.

A simple example

First, create some sample files in the current directory:

touch a b c

(This creates three empty files named a, b, and c. You can verify this with the ls command.)

Next, create a simple Perl program named that has these contents:

@files = qw( a b c );
unlink @files or die "Could not delete all of the files in @files\n";

Deleting files using a wildcard

(WARNING: This is very dangerous, be very careful.)

I just looked at the unlink docs, and saw that you can also delete files using wildcard characters. Here's another quick example.

First, make sure you don't have any files in the current directory ending with the extension .tmp. Then create some more temporary files using that extension:

touch a.tmp b.tmp c.tmp

Now edit the file to delete all files in the current directory ending with the file extension .tmp:

unlink <*.tmp>;

Now run the program (with the caveat that yes, this is very dangerous):


And now when you list all the files in the current directory, all your .tmp files should be gone.

Getting the number of files deleted

While I'm in the neighborhood, it looks like you can also get the number of files that were successfully deleted, like this:

$count = unlink @files;

The variable $count will contain the number of files that were deleted successfully.


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