wildcards

Discussion in 'Java' started by Roedy Green, Jun 23, 2005.

  1. Roedy Green

    Roedy Green Guest

    I just discovered something odd. EVERY Java utility has wildcard
    ability on the command line.

    If you write *.* as a parameter, you don't see "*.*" appearing in
    args[0]. Instead you see a list of all the filenames and directory
    names in the current directory, one per argument.

    Is this new? Who is doing this? Windows, 4NT, Java?

    if you write *.* as a parameter, you will get a list of all files and
    directories in the current directory beginning with a.

    But if you type . you just get the . This mechanism only seems to
    kick in when you use a wildcard ? or *.

    It is somewhat dangerous. *.* for a utility not prepared for it. *.*
    does a directory 1-deep recursion.

    --
    Bush crime family lost/embezzled $3 trillion from Pentagon.
    Complicit Bush-friendly media keeps mum. Rumsfeld confesses on video.
    http://www.infowars.com/articles/us/mckinney_grills_rumsfeld.htm

    Canadian Mind Products, Roedy Green.
    See http://mindprod.com/iraq.html photos of Bush's war crimes
    Roedy Green, Jun 23, 2005
    #1
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  2. Roedy Green

    Wendy Smoak Guest

    "Roedy Green" <> wrote:

    > If you write *.* as a parameter, you don't see "*.*" appearing in
    > args[0]. Instead you see a list of all the filenames and directory
    > names in the current directory, one per argument.
    >
    > Is this new? Who is doing this? Windows, 4NT, Java?


    If you're doing at the command line, then I would bet the operating system
    is evaluating the "*.*" before passing it as an argument to 'java'.

    --
    Wendy Smoak
    Wendy Smoak, Jun 23, 2005
    #2
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  3. It's nothing to do with java. It's solely due to the command line
    behavior. The console interprets the *.* as - all the files in current
    directory.

    So the java program receives the list of all the file names in ur
    directory.
    Kamal Chandana, Jun 23, 2005
    #3
  4. Wendy Smoak wrote:
    > "Roedy Green" <> wrote:
    >
    >
    >>If you write *.* as a parameter, you don't see "*.*" appearing in
    >>args[0]. Instead you see a list of all the filenames and directory
    >>names in the current directory, one per argument.
    >>
    >>Is this new? Who is doing this? Windows, 4NT, Java?

    >
    >
    > If you're doing at the command line, then I would bet the operating system
    > is evaluating the "*.*" before passing it as an argument to 'java'.
    >


    I'm sure Roedy is aware of command line expansion. In any case, I just
    did some tests, and there is something else going on. For example, using
    Cygwin's bash, the line:

    echo '*'

    echoes an asterisk, so single quotes suppress the expansion, as they
    should in bash.

    On the other hand, in the same shell:

    java Echo '*'

    gets a directory listing, where Echo is a program that prints its
    arguments. So far, I have been unable to pass an asterisk
    to my program, which seems unfortunate. If I decorate it enough to
    prevent expansion, the decoration gets passed through as part of the
    argument. For example '"*"' is passed as "*" (three characters).

    I've checked the documentation for "java", and it does not describe this
    behavior.

    Patricia
    Patricia Shanahan, Jun 23, 2005
    #4
  5. Roedy Green

    shakah Guest

    Roedy Green wrote:
    > I just discovered something odd. EVERY Java utility has wildcard
    > ability on the command line.
    >
    > If you write *.* as a parameter, you don't see "*.*" appearing in
    > args[0]. Instead you see a list of all the filenames and directory
    > names in the current directory, one per argument.
    >
    > Is this new? Who is doing this? Windows, 4NT, Java?
    >
    > if you write *.* as a parameter, you will get a list of all files and
    > directories in the current directory beginning with a.
    >
    > But if you type . you just get the . This mechanism only seems to
    > kick in when you use a wildcard ? or *.
    >
    > It is somewhat dangerous. *.* for a utility not prepared for it. *.*
    > does a directory 1-deep recursion.
    >
    > --
    > Bush crime family lost/embezzled $3 trillion from Pentagon.
    > Complicit Bush-friendly media keeps mum. Rumsfeld confesses on video.
    > http://www.infowars.com/articles/us/mckinney_grills_rumsfeld.htm


    > Canadian Mind Products, Roedy Green.
    > See http://mindprod.com/iraq.html photos of Bush's war crimes


    I'd think it is your command shell doing filename expansion, analogous
    to Bash's globbing:
    http://www.tldp.org/LDP/abs/html/globbingref.html
    shakah, Jun 23, 2005
    #5
  6. Roedy Green

    shakah Guest

    Patricia Shanahan wrote:
    > Wendy Smoak wrote:
    > > "Roedy Green" <> wrote:
    > >
    > >
    > >>If you write *.* as a parameter, you don't see "*.*" appearing in
    > >>args[0]. Instead you see a list of all the filenames and directory
    > >>names in the current directory, one per argument.
    > >>
    > >>Is this new? Who is doing this? Windows, 4NT, Java?

    > >
    > >
    > > If you're doing at the command line, then I would bet the operating system
    > > is evaluating the "*.*" before passing it as an argument to 'java'.
    > >

    >
    > I'm sure Roedy is aware of command line expansion. In any case, I just
    > did some tests, and there is something else going on. For example, using
    > Cygwin's bash, the line:
    >
    > echo '*'
    >
    > echoes an asterisk, so single quotes suppress the expansion, as they
    > should in bash.
    >
    > On the other hand, in the same shell:
    >
    > java Echo '*'
    >
    > gets a directory listing, where Echo is a program that prints its
    > arguments. So far, I have been unable to pass an asterisk
    > to my program, which seems unfortunate. If I decorate it enough to
    > prevent expansion, the decoration gets passed through as part of the
    > argument. For example '"*"' is passed as "*" (three characters).
    >
    > I've checked the documentation for "java", and it does not describe this
    > behavior.
    >
    > Patricia


    For what it's worth I don't see the behavior you describe with Bash
    under Linux:

    jc@sarah:~/tmp$ echo $BASH_VERSION
    3.00.14(1)-release

    jc@sarah:~/tmp$ cat Echo.java
    public class Echo {
    public static void main(String [] asArgs) {
    for(int nArg=0; nArg<asArgs.length; ++nArg) {
    System.out.println(nArg + ". '" + asArgs[nArg] + "'") ;
    }
    }
    }

    jc@sarah:~/tmp$ /usr/java/jdk1.5.0_01/bin/java Echo '*'
    0. '*'

    jc@sarah:~/tmp$ /usr/java/jdk1.5.0_01/bin/java Echo \*
    0. '*'

    jc@sarah:~/tmp$ /usr/java/jdk1.5.0_01/bin/java Echo "\*"
    0. '\*'

    jc@sarah:~/tmp$ /usr/java/jdk1.5.0_01/bin/java Echo *
    0. 'abstract-test'
    1. 'aide-0.10'
    2. 'audacity-src-1.2.3'
    3. 'axis-1_2'
    etc.
    shakah, Jun 23, 2005
    #6
  7. Roedy Green

    SMC Guest

    On Thu, 23 Jun 2005 15:01:08 +1000, Patricia Shanahan wrote:

    > Wendy Smoak wrote:
    >> "Roedy Green" <> wrote:
    >>
    >>
    >>>If you write *.* as a parameter, you don't see "*.*" appearing in
    >>>args[0]. Instead you see a list of all the filenames and directory
    >>>names in the current directory, one per argument.
    >>>
    >>>Is this new? Who is doing this? Windows, 4NT, Java?

    >>
    >>
    >> If you're doing at the command line, then I would bet the operating
    >> system is evaluating the "*.*" before passing it as an argument to
    >> 'java'.
    >>
    >>

    > I'm sure Roedy is aware of command line expansion. In any case, I just
    > did some tests, and there is something else going on. For example, using
    > Cygwin's bash, the line:
    >
    > echo '*'
    >
    > echoes an asterisk, so single quotes suppress the expansion, as they
    > should in bash.
    >
    > On the other hand, in the same shell:
    >
    > java Echo '*'
    >
    > gets a directory listing, where Echo is a program that prints its
    > arguments. So far, I have been unable to pass an asterisk to my program,
    > which seems unfortunate. If I decorate it enough to prevent expansion,
    > the decoration gets passed through as part of the argument. For example
    > '"*"' is passed as "*" (three characters).
    >
    > I've checked the documentation for "java", and it does not describe this
    > behavior.
    >
    > Patricia


    [sean@se2 tmp]$ cat e.java
    public class e {

    public static void main (String args[]){
    System.out.println(args[0]);
    }
    }
    [sean@se2 tmp]$ java e \*
    *
    [sean@se2 tmp]$ java e \*.\*
    *.*


    --
    Sean

    One has to look out for engineers - they begin with sewing machines and
    end up with the atomic bomb. --Marcel Pagnol
    SMC, Jun 23, 2005
    #7
  8. In widows console u can send * to the java program using "*".

    public class ArgsPrinter{

    public static void main(String args[]){

    System.out.println("Number of Arguments: " + args.length);

    for(int i=0;i<args.length; i++){
    System.out.println(args);
    }
    }

    }

    Just try to run the program as;

    run ArgsPrinter "*"

    result:
    Number of Arguments: 1
    *

    - So you can input *.
    Kamal Chandana, Jun 23, 2005
    #8
  9. Roedy Green

    . Guest

    On Thu, 23 Jun 2005, Roedy Green wrote:

    > I just discovered something odd. EVERY Java utility has wildcard
    > ability on the command line.
    >
    > If you write *.* as a parameter, you don't see "*.*" appearing in
    > args[0]. Instead you see a list of all the filenames and directory
    > names in the current directory, one per argument.
    >
    > Is this new? Who is doing this? Windows, 4NT, Java?
    >
    > if you write *.* as a parameter, you will get a list of all files and
    > directories in the current directory beginning with a.
    >
    > But if you type . you just get the . This mechanism only seems to
    > kick in when you use a wildcard ? or *.
    >
    > It is somewhat dangerous. *.* for a utility not prepared for it. *.*
    > does a directory 1-deep recursion.


    It is Windows that is doing it. I believe since 5.0 (Windows 2000) the
    command line will expand the wildcards * and ? before passing to a
    program.

    > --
    > Bush crime family lost/embezzled $3 trillion from Pentagon.
    > Complicit Bush-friendly media keeps mum. Rumsfeld confesses on video.
    > http://www.infowars.com/articles/us/mckinney_grills_rumsfeld.htm
    >
    > Canadian Mind Products, Roedy Green.
    > See http://mindprod.com/iraq.html photos of Bush's war crimes
    >


    --
    Send e-mail to: darrell dot grainger at utoronto dot ca
    ., Jun 23, 2005
    #9
  10. Roedy Green

    Harald Guest

    Patricia Shanahan <> writes:
    > I'm sure Roedy is aware of command line expansion. In any case, I just
    > did some tests, and there is something else going on. For example, using
    > Cygwin's bash, the line:
    >
    > echo '*'
    >
    > echoes an asterisk, so single quotes suppress the expansion, as they
    > should in bash.
    >
    > On the other hand, in the same shell:
    >
    > java Echo '*'
    >
    > gets a directory listing, where Echo is a program that prints its


    Is the program called `java' under cygwin a wrapper script which gets
    its argument passing to the real program all messed up?

    Harald.

    --
    ---------------------+---------------------------------------------
    Harald Kirsch (@home)|
    Java Text Crunching: http://www.ebi.ac.uk/Rebholz-srv/whatizit/software
    Harald, Jun 23, 2005
    #10
  11. Harald wrote:
    > Patricia Shanahan <> writes:
    >
    >>I'm sure Roedy is aware of command line expansion. In any case, I just
    >>did some tests, and there is something else going on. For example, using
    >>Cygwin's bash, the line:
    >>
    >>echo '*'
    >>
    >>echoes an asterisk, so single quotes suppress the expansion, as they
    >>should in bash.
    >>
    >>On the other hand, in the same shell:
    >>
    >>java Echo '*'
    >>
    >>gets a directory listing, where Echo is a program that prints its

    >
    >
    > Is the program called `java' under cygwin a wrapper script which gets
    > its argument passing to the real program all messed up?


    Good question, but it doesn't seem to be:

    [510] which java
    /cygdrive/c/Program Files/Java/jdk1.5.0/bin/java

    /cygdrive/c is the unix-like path Cygwin gives to C:, so that is
    C:/Program Files/Java/jdk1.5.0/bin/java, my JDK1.5 java.exe.

    I also tested, before posting, with 1.4 by forcing the java.exe file
    name, and it behaved the same way.

    Patricia
    Patricia Shanahan, Jun 23, 2005
    #11
  12. Roedy Green

    Roedy Green Guest

    On Thu, 23 Jun 2005 05:01:08 GMT, Patricia Shanahan <>
    wrote or quoted :

    >I'm sure Roedy is aware of command line expansion.


    I wasn't until I did some experiments. I wrote a little essay, as
    usual on what I found out about command line expansion.

    see http://mindprod.com/jgloss/wildcard.html

    --
    Bush crime family lost/embezzled $3 trillion from Pentagon.
    Complicit Bush-friendly media keeps mum. Rumsfeld confesses on video.
    http://www.infowars.com/articles/us/mckinney_grills_rumsfeld.htm

    Canadian Mind Products, Roedy Green.
    See http://mindprod.com/iraq.html photos of Bush's war crimes
    Roedy Green, Jun 24, 2005
    #12
  13. Patricia Shanahan wrote:
    > Wendy Smoak wrote:
    >
    >> "Roedy Green" <> wrote:
    >>
    >>
    >>> If you write *.* as a parameter, you don't see "*.*" appearing in
    >>> args[0]. Instead you see a list of all the filenames and directory
    >>> names in the current directory, one per argument.
    >>>
    >>> Is this new? Who is doing this? Windows, 4NT, Java?

    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> If you're doing at the command line, then I would bet the operating
    >> system is evaluating the "*.*" before passing it as an argument to
    >> 'java'.
    >>

    >
    > I'm sure Roedy is aware of command line expansion. In any case, I just
    > did some tests, and there is something else going on. For example, using
    > Cygwin's bash, the line:
    >
    > echo '*'
    >
    > echoes an asterisk, so single quotes suppress the expansion, as they
    > should in bash.
    >
    > On the other hand, in the same shell:
    >
    > java Echo '*'
    >
    > gets a directory listing, where Echo is a program that prints its
    > arguments. So far, I have been unable to pass an asterisk
    > to my program, which seems unfortunate. If I decorate it enough to
    > prevent expansion, the decoration gets passed through as part of the
    > argument. For example '"*"' is passed as "*" (three characters).
    >
    > I've checked the documentation for "java", and it does not describe this
    > behavior.
    >


    This has to due with the way wildcard expansion is handled in Windows.
    Wildcard expansion is not handled by the command interpreter, as in Unix
    shells. Wildcard expansion is built into the console application (those
    of you familiar with Visual C++ will know t=what the settings are to do
    this).

    <http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/vccelng/htm/basic_22.asp>

    HTH,
    Ray

    --
    XML is the programmer's duct tape.
    Raymond DeCampo, Jun 24, 2005
    #13
  14. Roedy Green wrote:
    > On Thu, 23 Jun 2005 05:01:08 GMT, Patricia Shanahan <>
    > wrote or quoted :
    >
    >
    >>I'm sure Roedy is aware of command line expansion.

    >
    >
    > I wasn't until I did some experiments. I wrote a little essay, as
    > usual on what I found out about command line expansion.
    >
    > see http://mindprod.com/jgloss/wildcard.html
    >


    Roedy,

    Portions of the essay are somewhat misleading. In Windows, it is not
    the command interpreter or BAT language that expands the wildcards. It
    is the application that is invoked that does the expanding. This
    explains why wildcard expansion in Windows can be inconsistent from
    program to program.

    I am confused by one part of your essay:

    - Oddly if you pass a wild card to any Java utility, the command
    - processor expands the wildcards so that you program for *.* will see
    - list of all the directories and all the files, one per arg slot.

    Unless the directories have the a period character in the name, they
    should not match the *.* wildcard expression. If this does happen
    perhaps you have found a bug in the JVM.

    HTH,
    Ray

    --
    XML is the programmer's duct tape.
    Raymond DeCampo, Jun 24, 2005
    #14
  15. .. wrote:
    > On Thu, 23 Jun 2005, Roedy Green wrote:
    >
    >
    >>I just discovered something odd. EVERY Java utility has wildcard
    >>ability on the command line.
    >>
    >>If you write *.* as a parameter, you don't see "*.*" appearing in
    >>args[0]. Instead you see a list of all the filenames and directory
    >>names in the current directory, one per argument.
    >>
    >>Is this new? Who is doing this? Windows, 4NT, Java?
    >>
    >>if you write *.* as a parameter, you will get a list of all files and
    >>directories in the current directory beginning with a.
    >>
    >>But if you type . you just get the . This mechanism only seems to
    >>kick in when you use a wildcard ? or *.
    >>
    >>It is somewhat dangerous. *.* for a utility not prepared for it. *.*
    >>does a directory 1-deep recursion.

    >
    >
    > It is Windows that is doing it. I believe since 5.0 (Windows 2000) the
    > command line will expand the wildcards * and ? before passing to a
    > program.
    >


    I posted the following link as evidence that it is not the command
    interpreter but the application that expands wildcards:

    <http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/vccelng/htm/basic_22.asp>

    If this did indeed change in Windows 2000, I would like to read some
    documentation on that. Can you provide a link?

    (While it is true that I do not think this is the case, my request is
    genuine.)

    Thanks,
    Ray

    --
    XML is the programmer's duct tape.
    Raymond DeCampo, Jun 24, 2005
    #15
  16. Roedy Green

    Hemal Pandya Guest

    It seems to have something to do with bash, but I wonder what. The
    results are different on Windows command interpreter and on cygwin
    bash:

    C:\java>java Echo *
    0. 'ant'
    1. 'Echo.class'
    2. 'Echo.java'
    3. 'Echo.java~'
    4. 'game'
    5. 'test'

    C:\java>java Echo '*'
    0. ''*''

    C:\java>java Echo "*"
    0. '*'
    Hemal Pandya, Jun 24, 2005
    #16
  17. Roedy Green

    Chris Uppal Guest

    shakah wrote:

    > For what it's worth I don't see the behavior you describe with Bash
    > under Linux:


    That is because the java program on Unix does not do command-line expansion.
    It -- correctly -- expects the invoking command processor to do whatever
    expansion is required.

    Under Windows (as under DOS) the architecture is different (and /very/ stupid,
    IMO): individual commands are expected to do their own expansion. That means
    that the Windows version of the java program is expanding the wildcard
    according to whatever rules are compiled into it, and there is nothing that the
    command processor (the cygwin version of bash in Patricia's example) can do
    about it.

    Command-line processing under Windows is, and always has been, utterly broken.

    -- chris
    Chris Uppal, Jun 24, 2005
    #17
  18. Roedy Green

    Chris Head Guest

    -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
    Hash: SHA1

    Raymond DeCampo wrote:
    > Roedy Green wrote:
    >
    >> On Thu, 23 Jun 2005 05:01:08 GMT, Patricia Shanahan <>
    >> wrote or quoted :
    >>
    >>
    >>> I'm sure Roedy is aware of command line expansion.

    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> I wasn't until I did some experiments. I wrote a little essay, as
    >> usual on what I found out about command line expansion.
    >>
    >> see http://mindprod.com/jgloss/wildcard.html
    >>

    >
    > Roedy,
    >
    > Portions of the essay are somewhat misleading. In Windows, it is not
    > the command interpreter or BAT language that expands the wildcards. It
    > is the application that is invoked that does the expanding. This
    > explains why wildcard expansion in Windows can be inconsistent from
    > program to program.
    >
    > I am confused by one part of your essay:
    >
    > - Oddly if you pass a wild card to any Java utility, the command
    > - processor expands the wildcards so that you program for *.* will see
    > - list of all the directories and all the files, one per arg slot.
    >
    > Unless the directories have the a period character in the name, they
    > should not match the *.* wildcard expression. If this does happen
    > perhaps you have found a bug in the JVM.
    >
    > HTH,
    > Ray
    >


    Hi,
    At least in old DOS, *.* actually meant every file, whether or not it
    contained a dot. This would be because every file "implicitly" had a dot
    in it. Meanwhile, just asking for * I think didn't match anything.

    Chris
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    Chris Head, Jun 24, 2005
    #18
  19. Roedy Green

    Roedy Green Guest

    On Fri, 24 Jun 2005 02:28:13 GMT, Raymond DeCampo
    <> wrote or quoted :

    >Portions of the essay are somewhat misleading. In Windows, it is not
    >the command interpreter or BAT language that expands the wildcards. It
    >is the application that is invoked that does the expanding. This
    >explains why wildcard expansion in Windows can be inconsistent from
    >program to program.
    >
    >I am confused by one part of your essay:
    >
    >- Oddly if you pass a wild card to any Java utility, the command
    >- processor expands the wildcards so that you program for *.* will see
    >- list of all the directories and all the files, one per arg slot.
    >
    >Unless the directories have the a period character in the name, they
    >should not match the *.* wildcard expression. If this does happen
    >perhaps you have found a bug in the JVM.


    try this out. I think you will be surprised.

    /**
    * Tests what sort of wildcard expansion happens automatically.
    * It is very simple. Just look at the main method code to understand
    * what it does and what you could use it for.
    *
    * try with:
    * java WildcardExpansion *.*
    * java WildcardExpansion "*.*"
    * java WildcardExpansion s*.*
    * java WildcardExpansion .
    * java WildcardExpansion *.html
    * java WildcardExpansion afile.txt anotherfile.txt
    * java WildcardExpansion d?mmy.* (where you have dummy.* files and a
    dummy dir)
    * java WildcardExpansion t?mmy.* (where you don't have tummy.* files
    or a tummy dir)
    *
    * My discoveries: For Win2K:
    * Wildcards are automatically expanded before your program sees them.
    * Who does it? Presumably the command processor or a Sun class.
    * You get a list of matching files INCLUDING matching directory
    names,
    * but not the files in those subdirectories. Since directories
    normally
    * don't have extensions, you won't see the problem with *.html but
    you will
    * with s*.* or *.*.
    * If the wildcard does not match anything, you get the raw wildcard.
    * The wildcard in quotes gives you the raw wildcard.
    * Author Roedy Green
    * Version 1.0
    */

    public class WildcardExpansion
    {
    /**
    * Echo command line arguments, along with any automatic expansion
    * Can be used to test wildcard expansion, quoting, or any other
    basic features
    * features of command line parsing.
    *
    * @param args whatever you want to test.
    */
    public static void main ( String[] args )
    {
    System.out.println ( args.length + " arguments" );

    for ( int i=0; i<args.length; i++ )
    {
    // [ ] help prove no lead/trail blanks tabs etc.
    System.out.println( "[" + args + "]" );
    }
    }
    }

    --
    Bush crime family lost/embezzled $3 trillion from Pentagon.
    Complicit Bush-friendly media keeps mum. Rumsfeld confesses on video.
    http://www.infowars.com/articles/us/mckinney_grills_rumsfeld.htm

    Canadian Mind Products, Roedy Green.
    See http://mindprod.com/iraq.html photos of Bush's war crimes
    Roedy Green, Jun 26, 2005
    #19
  20. Roedy Green

    Roedy Green Guest

    On Fri, 24 Jun 2005 01:11:17 GMT, Raymond DeCampo
    <> wrote or quoted :

    ><http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/vccelng/htm/basic_22.asp>


    So this implies the JRE is calling setargv or equivalent for you. In
    other words, the screw up is Sun's fault, not Microsofts that you
    can't tell a wildcard expansion asking for ONLY *.* files, from a list
    of directories and files to process keyed out longhand.

    --
    Bush crime family lost/embezzled $3 trillion from Pentagon.
    Complicit Bush-friendly media keeps mum. Rumsfeld confesses on video.
    http://www.infowars.com/articles/us/mckinney_grills_rumsfeld.htm

    Canadian Mind Products, Roedy Green.
    See http://mindprod.com/iraq.html photos of Bush's war crimes
    Roedy Green, Jun 26, 2005
    #20
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