Cross-platform library for normalizing and joining file system paths
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Path joiner and normalizer

PathJoin is PHP library for normalizing and joining file system paths. The purpose of this library is to make easier to work with file system paths irregardless of the platform and the system directory separator.

The purpose of file path normalization is to provide a single consistent file path representation. In other words, the normalization in this library will resolve . and .. directory references and also condense multiple directory separators into one. This makes it much easier to avoid common problems when comparing paths against each other.

While PHP provides a built in function realpath(), it is not usable in every case since it works by using the file system. This library simply combines and normalizes the paths using string handling. There is no requirement for the files or directories to be readable or even exist.

The API documentation, which can be generated using Apigen, can be read online at:

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In order to use this library, the following requirements must be met:

  • PHP version 5.4


This library can be installed by using Composer. In order to do this, you must download the latest Composer version and run the require command to add this library as a dependency to your project. The easiest way to complete these two tasks is to run the following two commands in your terminal:

php -r "readfile('');" | php
php composer.phar require "riimu/kit-pathjoin:1.*"

If you already have Composer installed on your system and you know how to use it, you can also install this library by adding it as a dependency to your composer.json file and running the composer install command. Here is an example of what your composer.json file could look like:

    "require": {
        "riimu/kit-pathjoin": "1.*"

After installing this library via Composer, you can load the library by including the vendor/autoload.php file that was generated by Composer during the installation.

Manual installation

You can also install this library manually without using Composer. In order to do this, you must download the latest release and extract the src folder from the archive to your project folder. To load the library, you can simply include the src/autoload.php file that was provided in the archive.


This library provides two convenient methods, Path::normalize() and Path::join(). Both of these methods work in a very similar fashion. The main difference is that while the join() method can accept multiple paths to join, the normalize() will only accept a single path. Both of the methods will return a normalized path as the result.

The following example will contain numerous different use cases of the library:


require 'vendor/autoload.php';
use Riimu\Kit\PathJoin\Path;

// Both of the following will output 'foo/bar' on Unix and 'foo\bar' on Windows
echo Path::normalize('foo/bar') . PHP_EOL;
echo Path::join('foo', 'bar') . PHP_EOL;

// The join method accepts multiple arguments or a single array
echo Path::join('foo', 'bar', 'baz') . PHP_EOL;   // outputs 'foo/bar/baz'
echo Path::join(['foo', 'bar', 'baz']) . PHP_EOL; // outputs 'foo/bar/baz'

// The '.' and '..' directory references will be resolved in the paths
echo Path::normalize('foo/./bar/../baz') . PHP_EOL;     // outputs 'foo/baz'
echo Path::join(['foo/./', 'bar', '../baz']) . PHP_EOL; // outputs 'foo/baz'

// Only the first path can denote an absolute path in the join method
echo Path::join('/foo', '/bar/baz') . PHP_EOL;     // outputs '/foo/bar/baz'
echo Path::join('foo', '/bar') . PHP_EOL;          // outputs 'foo/bar'
echo Path::join('foo', '../bar', 'baz') . PHP_EOL; // outputs 'bar/baz'
echo Path::join('', '/bar', 'baz') . PHP_EOL;      // outputs 'bar/baz'

// Relative paths can start with a '..', but absolute paths cannot
echo Path::join('/foo', '../../bar', 'baz') . PHP_EOL; // outputs '/bar/baz'
echo Path::join('foo', '../../bar', 'baz') . PHP_EOL;  // outputs '../bar/baz'

// Empty paths will result in a '.'
echo Path::normalize('foo/..') . PHP_EOL;
echo Path::join('foo', 'bar', '../..') . PHP_EOL;

The Path::normalize() also accepts a second parameter $prependDrive that takes a boolean value and defaults to true. On Windows platforms, the drive letter is important part of the absolute path. Thus, when the parameter is set to true, the method will prepend the drive letter of the current working directory to absolute paths if the absolute path does not provide one itself.

The following example is true for Windows systems, if the working directory is located on the C: drive:


require 'vendor/autoload.php';
use Riimu\Kit\PathJoin\Path;

echo Path::normalize('/foo/bar') . PHP_EOL;        // outputs 'C:\foo\Bar'
echo Path::normalize('D:/foo/bar') . PHP_EOL;      // outputs 'D:\foo\Bar'
echo Path::normalize('/foo/bar', false) . PHP_EOL; // outputs '\foo\Bar'


This library is copyright 2014 - 2015 to Riikka Kalliomäki.

See LICENSE for license and copying information.