File::Read(3) Unique interface for reading one or more files


Version 0.0801


use File::Read;
# read a file
$file = read_file($path);
# read several files
@files = read_files(@paths);
# aggregate several files
$file = read_files(@paths);
# read a file as root, skip comments and blank lines
$file = read_file({ as_root => 1, skip_comments => 1, skip_blanks => 1 }, $path);


This module mainly proposes functions for reading one or more files, with different options. See below for more details and examples.


This module was created to address a quite specific need: reading many files, some as a normal user and others as root, and eventually do a little more processing, all while being at the same time compatible with Perl 5.004. "File::Slurp" addresses the first point, but not the others, hence the creation of "File::Read". If you don't need reading files as root or the post-processing features, then it's faster to directly use "File::Slurp".


By default, this module exports all the functions documented afterhand. It also recognizes import options. For example

    use File::Read 'err_mode=quiet';

set "read_file()"'s "err_mode" option default value to "quiet".


Read the files given in argument and return their content, as as list, one element per file, when called in list context, or as one big chunk of text when called in scalar context. Options can be set using a hashref as first parameter.


  • "aggregate" controls how the function returns the content of the files that were successfully read. By default, When set to true (default), the function returns the content as a scalar; when set to false, the content is returned as a list.
  • "as_root" tells the function to read the given file(s) as root using the command indicated by the "cmd" option.
  • "cmd" sets the shell command used for reading files as root. Default is "sudo cat". Therefore you need sudo(8) and cat(1) on your system, and sudoers(5) must be set so the user can execute cat(1).
  • "err_mode" controls how the function behaves when an error occurs. Available values are "croak", "carp" and "quiet". Default value is "croak".
  • "skip_comments" tells the functions to remove all comment lines from the read files.
  • "skip_blanks" tells the functions to remove all blank lines from the read files.
  • "to_ascii" tells the functions to convert the text to US-ASCII using "Text::Unidecode". If this module is not available, non-ASCII data are deleted.


Just read a file:

    my $file = read_file($path);

Read a file, returning it as list:

    my @file = read_file({ aggregate => 0 }, $path);

Read a file, skipping comments:

    my $file = read_file({ skip_comments => 1 }, $path);

Read several files, skipping blank lines and comments:

    my @files = read_file({ skip_comments => 1, skip_blanks => 1 }, @paths);
"read_files()" is just an alias for "read_file()" so that it look more sane when reading several files.


"Bad value '%s' for option '%s'"
(E) You gave a bad value for the indicated option. Please check the documentation for the valid values.
"This function needs at least one path"
(E) You called a function without giving it argument.


Sebastien Aperghis-Tramoni, "<sebastien at>"


Please report any bugs or feature requests to "bug-file-read at", or through the web interface at <>. I will be notified, and then you'll automatically be notified of progress on your bug as I make changes.


You can find documentation for this module with the perldoc command.

    perldoc File::Read

You can also look for information at:


Copyright (C) 2006, 2007 Sebastien Aperghis-Tramoni, all rights reserved.

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.