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Creating files

From: Unix for Mac OS X Users

Video: Creating files

Now that we understand about file naming, we are actually ready to start creating some files and there are three main ways to create files in Unix. The first is using a text editor and Unix has its own text editor. We are not going to be using the text editors that you have on your Mac like Microsoft Word or whatever it might be. We are going to be using Unix's text editors and we are going to see how to do that in the next movie. There is also a technique where we can direct output from a command and put that in a file and we will see that in a future chapter. Then there is the simplest of all, the one that we are going to look at right now, which is just touch.

Creating files

Now that we understand about file naming, we are actually ready to start creating some files and there are three main ways to create files in Unix. The first is using a text editor and Unix has its own text editor. We are not going to be using the text editors that you have on your Mac like Microsoft Word or whatever it might be. We are going to be using Unix's text editors and we are going to see how to do that in the next movie. There is also a technique where we can direct output from a command and put that in a file and we will see that in a future chapter. Then there is the simplest of all, the one that we are going to look at right now, which is just touch.

Let's go back to our command line and see how the touch command works. Back in my home directory, we can just see what's in there right now, ls -la. We will see the full list. Before we do touch, let's take a look at what touch actually does. Let's look in the manual for touch. Change file access and modification times. Well that doesn't sound like it has anything to do with creating files. But here is the thing. touch is a very simple command that Unix users use all the time and what it does is it just reaches out to a file and if it exists it touches it and updates its access time.

If it doesn't exist, it creates it for us and it's that second part that is what I want us to see. So let's just do touch somefile.txt and now let's do a listing again and there it is. It's the last one there. It's a zero file. There is nothing inside of it. You can see that the size of the file here. All I did was reach out and say, "Oh you want me to touch that file? Well it doesn't exist. I will create it for you." Now the other way of using touch would just be to say, let's say, touch .bash_history and see my history file right there. You can see the last access time for it was 15:59.

I will touch the bash_history and then let's go up, ls -la, now we can see that the time has been updated. Now it's 16:12. Now let me be the more conventional way of using touch, but the thing is that Unix users use touch to create files all the time. It's a really, really simple thing to do. You want to make sure that the file exists, so you touch it. If it exists already, fine. It's just going to update its access time and it's there, but if not, it will create it for us so that we can be assured that that file is there whenever we do a future operation.

So just keep it in mind as one of the tools. Now the file it creates is empty and in most cases what's more useful is actually to be able to put content in the file. So for that we are going to need to use a text editor.

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Unix for Mac OS X Users

82 video lessons · 25674 viewers

Kevin Skoglund
Author

 
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  1. 3m 57s
    1. Introduction
      1m 14s
    2. Using the exercise files
      2m 43s
  2. 32m 2s
    1. What is Unix?
      7m 27s
    2. The terminal application
      4m 23s
    3. Logging in and using the command prompt
      5m 19s
    4. Command structure
      5m 22s
    5. Kernel and shells
      5m 25s
    6. Unix manual pages
      4m 6s
  3. 15m 58s
    1. The working directory
      2m 49s
    2. Listing files and directories
      3m 59s
    3. Moving around the filesystem
      4m 58s
    4. Filesystem organization
      4m 12s
  4. 1h 4m
    1. Naming files
      5m 41s
    2. Creating files
      2m 19s
    3. Unix text editors
      6m 39s
    4. Reading files
      5m 35s
    5. Reading portions of files
      3m 27s
    6. Creating directories
      2m 40s
    7. Moving and renaming files and directories
      8m 32s
    8. Copying files and directories
      3m 7s
    9. Deleting files and directories
      3m 38s
    10. Finder aliases in Unix
      4m 10s
    11. Hard links
      5m 30s
    12. Symbolic links
      6m 36s
    13. Searching for files and directories
      6m 32s
  5. 34m 58s
    1. Who am I?
      4m 3s
    2. Unix groups
      1m 52s
    3. File and directory ownership
      6m 41s
    4. File and directory permissions
      4m 27s
    5. Setting permissions using alpha notation
      6m 49s
    6. Setting permissions using octal notation
      3m 49s
    7. The root user
      1m 57s
    8. sudo and sudoers
      5m 20s
  6. 52m 34s
    1. Command basics
      4m 4s
    2. The PATH variable
      4m 13s
    3. System information commands
      3m 40s
    4. Disk information commands
      6m 8s
    5. Viewing processes
      5m 0s
    6. Monitoring processes
      3m 36s
    7. Stopping processes
      3m 19s
    8. Text file helpers
      6m 50s
    9. Utility programs
      7m 28s
    10. Using the command history
      8m 16s
  7. 20m 39s
    1. Standard input and standard output
      1m 24s
    2. Directing output to a file
      4m 13s
    3. Appending to a file
      2m 44s
    4. Directing input from a file
      5m 28s
    5. Piping output to input
      4m 40s
    6. Suppressing output
      2m 10s
  8. 41m 28s
    1. Profile, login, and resource files
      9m 11s
    2. Setting command aliases
      6m 59s
    3. Setting and exporting environment variables
      4m 54s
    4. Setting the PATH variable
      6m 10s
    5. Configuring history with variables
      6m 17s
    6. Customizing the command prompt
      6m 5s
    7. Logout file
      1m 52s
  9. 1h 25m
    1. grep: Searching for matching expressions
      5m 21s
    2. grep: Multiple files, other input
      4m 28s
    3. grep: Coloring matched text
      2m 57s
    4. Introduction to regular expressions
      3m 22s
    5. Regular expressions: Basic syntax
      3m 19s
    6. Using regular expressions with grep
      5m 20s
    7. tr: Translating characters
      8m 17s
    8. tr: Deleting and squeezing characters
      5m 30s
    9. sed: Stream editor
      7m 45s
    10. sed: Regular expressions and back-references
      7m 8s
    11. cut: Cutting select text portions
      7m 42s
    12. diff: Comparing files
      4m 35s
    13. diff: Alternative formats
      4m 30s
    14. xargs: Passing argument lists to commands
      7m 25s
    15. xargs: Usage examples
      7m 59s
  10. 42m 25s
    1. Finder integration
      4m 45s
    2. Clipboard integration
      5m 5s
    3. Screen capture
      3m 42s
    4. Shut down, reboot, and sleep
      3m 34s
    5. Text to speech
      2m 36s
    6. Spotlight integration: Searching metadata
      3m 41s
    7. Spotlight integration: Metadata attributes
      4m 24s
    8. Using AppleScript
      5m 23s
    9. System configurations: Viewing and setting
      5m 51s
    10. System configurations: Examples
      3m 24s
  11. 1m 26s
    1. Conclusion
      1m 26s

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