Bash equivalent for PHP realpath()

For all you PHP hackers trying to write a BASH script and looking for an equivalent for PHP’s realpath function, try readlink. It can expand symbolic links and resolve relative paths like “./” and “../”. In a shell script, try this:

MY_PATH=$(readlink -f $0)

Thanks to Barry.

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  1. Phil R

     /  October 8, 2008

    If you put quotation marks around the variable expansion you’ll be able to gracefully handle paths with spaces in them as well:

    MY_PATH=$(readlink -f “$0″)

  2. This was very appreciated for a shell script I’m building. Thank you!

  3. Anon

     /  January 11, 2009

    saddly, readlink on Mac OS X has almost a completely different implementation and this particular method doesn’t work. sigh. still looking around….

  4. openspecies

     /  February 5, 2009

    eval “expand_tild=$inputfile”
    MY_PATH=$(php -r “echo realpath(‘$expand_tild’);”)

  5. mmw

     /  March 3, 2009

    me again, or:
    # This function expands ~ in pathname and
    # resolves the given path using perl or python or php realpath
    function resolvepath () {
    if [[ “${1}” == \~*/* || “${1}” == \~ || “${1}” == \~/* || “${1}” == \~/ ]]; then

    PYTHON_CMD=$(which python)
    PERL_CMD=$(which perl)
    PHP_CMD=$(which php)

    if [ ! -z “${PYTHON_CMD}” ]; then
    resolved_path=$(“${PYTHON_CMD}” -c ‘import os;print os.path.realpath(“‘”$p”‘”);’)
    elif [ ! -z “${PERL_CMD}” ]; then
    resolved_path=$(“${PERL_CMD}” -e ‘use Cwd qw(realpath);print realpath(“‘”$p”‘”);’)
    elif [ ! -z “${PHP_CMD}” ]; then
    resolved_path=$(“${PHP_CMD}” -r “echo realpath(‘$p’);”)
    fi #linux readlink -f

  6. shingra

     /  May 14, 2009

    I’m afflicted with the darwin version of readlink. For one script I needed to be able to resolve paths of directories only, and the following solution did it for me.

    cd “$1″ 2>/dev/null || return $? # cd to desired directory; if fail, quell any error messages but return exit status
    echo “`pwd -P`” # output full, link-resolved path

    # sample usage
    if abs_path=”`dir_resolve \”$1\”`”
    echo “$1 resolves to $abs_path”
    echo pwd: `pwd` # function forks subshell, so working directory outside function is not affected
    echo “Could not reach $1″

  7. onemyndseye

     /  July 20, 2009

    If you simply need to return the full path of the running script and you CAN use readlink… this one-liner should work well as long as its defined at the top of the script before the inital PWD changes.

    MY_PATH=$(readlink -f $(type -a $0 |awk ‘{print $3}’))

  8. Nate

     /  September 1, 2011

    For general use, it’s probably safer to use $(readlink -m $path) for this purpose. With the -f switch the file must exist, but with -m it doesn’t matter. It depends on your purposes, but it’s good to be aware of this in any case. If I convert a path using readlink -f and then check if it’s empty, I won’t know whether it’s empty because the original path was empty, or because the file doesn’t exist.

  9. The following Ruby script works well for me on Mac 10.7 and Ubuntu 12.04:

    #!/usr/bin/env ruby
    unless (1..2).include? ARGV.size
    STDERR.write(“usage: #{File.basename $0} filename [dirstring]\n”)
    exit 1
    puts File.expand_path( *ARGV )

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