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The working directory

From: Unix for Mac OS X Users

Video: The working directory

In this chapter we're going to take a look at the Unix file system and how we can work with files and directories. I want to start that off by talking about the concept of the working directory. This is an important concept. It's the directory where we are right now. So when we issue commands, it's important to know which working directory we are in, because that's where those commands are going to happen. That's where they are going to take place. So if we say look for a file, it's going to look for a file in that directory, unless we tell it something. So it's important to know where we are. The best analogy is the graphical user interface of the Finder. Right here I am inside kevin.

The working directory

In this chapter we're going to take a look at the Unix file system and how we can work with files and directories. I want to start that off by talking about the concept of the working directory. This is an important concept. It's the directory where we are right now. So when we issue commands, it's important to know which working directory we are in, because that's where those commands are going to happen. That's where they are going to take place. So if we say look for a file, it's going to look for a file in that directory, unless we tell it something. So it's important to know where we are. The best analogy is the graphical user interface of the Finder. Right here I am inside kevin.

That's my user directory and you can see that I have all my different folders here. If I double-click on Public, I go inside the Public folder. I've changed my working directory from being in kevin to being in Public. I can go back and I've changed my working directory now back to kevin. It's the directory that we are seeing and we are working. It's very similar. Notice though that that only happens in the Finder when this sidebar is there. If I click this button over here and make the sidebar disappear, now I get a different behavior.

I double-click on Public and I get a whole new window. That's not a good analogy, because that's not the way it works. We're not getting a new window at all. So this is the one that works for the analogy where we have moving around and this window is just shifting and changing into different directories as we go up and down. Now we can jump to different places. We can jump to our desktop. We can jump to our Applications folder. We don't have to move around in sort of a linear way. This will take me back to my user directory, but that's the analogy to think of. This is the working directory in the same way that we have a working directory here.

So what working directory are we in here? pwd, that's the present working directory and there is my present working directory. It returns the path to me that describes what we're seeing in the window over here. If I actually hold down the Ctrl key while I click on kevin, you can see that it tells me, ah, Macintosh Hard Drive> Users and then Kevin. That's where I'm located. So in the root of the hard drive user is kevin, in the same way that this tells me the root of the hard drive.

That's the first slash, /Users/Kevin. That's the path. If you use the Windows at all, it's the backslash on Windows, but on Mac and on Unix it's always the forward slash, That's what you use for a path separator in both Mac and Unix, is the forward slash. So in the next couple of movies we're going to learn more about seeing the different directories and how to move around between them, but keep in mind that you can always use this pwd to find out your present working directory and that you are always in a single directory when you're in Unix. So wherever you are at this moment that's the place that you are residing, much in the same way as if you had a window open like this and all of your commands were being typed relative to that window.

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This video is part of

Image for Unix for Mac OS X Users
Unix for Mac OS X Users

82 video lessons · 25418 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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