Perl File Handling: open, read, write and close files

Understanding Perl File Handling: open, read, write and close files with examples

Opening a file in Perl

Opening a file in Perl is simple and straightforward
To open a file we are using open method as show in following example TESTHANDLE is the file handle which will be used to read the file.

open(TESTHANDLE, "while()
print "$_";

Opening a Perl File Handle reference in Normal Scalar Variable.

TESTHANDLE is the file handle returned by open function. In above example we are using < sign which is for opening a file in read mode. There are few other mode in which you can read or write the file, they are as follows :

Entities Definition

< or r Read Only Access
> or wFor creation, writing, and Truncation
>> or aFor Writing Appends, and Creates
+< or r+ For Reading and Writing
+> or w+For Reading , Writing, Creating, and Truncation
+>> or a+For Reading , Writing, Appending, and Creating

Similar to open function Perl offers a sysopen function to open a file. In sysopen function it uses systems open() function due to that it requires different command as shown in example below

sysopen(DATA, "file.txt", O_RDWR);

this is used to open a file in read write mode.
Below is the table of commands we need to pass in order to manipulate the file.

O_RDWR Read and Write
O_RDONLY Read Only
O_WRONLY Write Only
O_CREAT Create the file
O_APPEND Append the file
O_TRUNC Truncate the file
O_EXCL Stops if file already exists
O_NONBLOCK Non-Blocking usability

close function is to close the file handle or disassociate the filehandle from the file. There are two main purposes of close function
1. Flush the buffers of fileHandle
2. To close the system's file descriptor.

Reading contents from File

Reading contents from the file is also a very easy task. Lets see how we can read the contents of file using File Handle.

Reading contents of file using filehandle

open TESTHANDLE,"less thantest.txt";
$line = ;
print $line;

Here is above example we have taken a line in a file using scalar variable with the help of TESTHANDLE

Similar to above example we can get the list of line using list context as follows
open TESTHANDLE,"less than test.txt";
@lines = less thanTESTHANDLEgreater than;

In above example TESTHANDLE operator returns list of lines which we are collecting in @lines.

Using getc function we can get the a single character from the specified TESTHANDLE , or standard input stream if none is specified.

Now we will see how we can write the contents into the file.

Writing contents of file using filehandle.

open FILEHANDLE,"less thantest.txt";
print FILEHANDLE "This is the line getting printed in file\n";

Copying the file

Lets see the example for copying the contents one file to another. In the example below we are opening original file for reading and creating new file with another file handle in write mode.
# Opening file in read mode
open(FILEHANDLE_ORG, "less thanoriginal.txt");

# Opening a new file in write mode

open(FILEHANDLE_DUP, "greater thanduplicate.txt");

# Copying the data from one file to another using filehandle.

Deleting a file

Deleting a file is also a very easy task in Perl. Perl has unlink function to delete the file. It is used as follows :
unlink ("test.txt");

Hope you find this article helpful.
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