FAQ 5.19 How can I open a file with a leading ">" or trailing blanks?


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5.19: How can I open a file with a leading ">" or trailing blanks?

(contributed by Brian McCauley)

The special two argument form of Perl's open() function ignores trailing
blanks in filenames and infers the mode from certain leading characters
(or a trailing "|"). In older versions of Perl this was the only version
of open() and so it is prevalent in old code and books.

Unless you have a particular reason to use the two argument form you
should use the three argument form of open() which does not treat any
characters in the filename as special.

open my $fh, "<", " file "; # filename is " file "
open my $fh, ">", ">file"; # filename is ">file"


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