XPath Filename Expansion in a Unix Shell

Kaspar Giger, Erik Wilde


Locating files based on file system structure, file properties, and maybe even file contents is a core task of the user interface of operating systems. By adapting XPath's power to the environment of a Unix shell, it is possible to greatly increase the expressive power of the command line language. We present a concept for integrating an XPath view of the file system into a shell, which can be used to find files based on file attributes and contents in a very flexible way. The syntax of the command line language is backwards compatible with traditional shells, and the new XPath-based expressions can be easily mastered with a little bit of XPath knowledge.


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