[erlang-questions] Fast directory walker

Benoit Chesneau <>
Sat Dec 10 09:42:20 CET 2016


this is kind of bullshit (sorry ;).... at the end this is what does the
helpers in filelib:
https://github.com/erlang/otp/blob/maint/lib/stdlib/src/filelib.erl#L257

except if you have a better algorithm in mind i don't se the point of
rewriting something that is aleaready existing ...

On Sat, 10 Dec 2016 at 09:36, Sergej Jurečko <>
wrote:

> Stop using filelib functions. Use file:read_file_info and file:list_dir.
>
> Sergej
>
> On Dec 10, 2016 9:29 AM, "Frank Muller" <>
> wrote:
>
> Hi Stanislaw
>
> First, I don't care if I've to use documented/undocumented calls as long
> as I can achieve my goal: faster dir walking.
>
> And you're right, here is a detailed comparison with other scripting
> languages:
>
> In my /usr/share, there’s:
> 2580 directories
> 28953 files
>
> 1. Erlang (no io:format/1, just recurse):
>
> walk(Dir) ->
>     {ok, Files} = file:list_dir(Dir),
>     walk(Dir, Files).
>
> walk(Dir, [ Basename | Rest ]) ->
>     Path = filename:join([ Dir, Basename ]),
>     case filelib:is_dir(Path) of
>         true  ->
>             walk(Path);
>         false ->
>           %%  io:format("~s~n", [Path]),
>             filelib:file_size(Path)
>     end,
>     walk(Dir, Rest);
> walk(_, []) ->
>     ok.
>
> timer:tc(fun() -> directoy:walker("/usr/share") end).
> {4662361,ok}
>
> 2. Python (this code even count the size of dir):
> From:
> http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1392413/calculating-a-directory-size-using-python
>
> import os
> def get_size(start_path = '.'):
>     total_size = 0
>     for dirpath, dirnames, filenames in os.walk(start_path):
>         for f in filenames:
>             fp = os.path.join(dirpath, f)
>             total_size += os.path.getsize(fp)
>     return total_size
>
> print get_size()
>
> $ cd /usr/share
> $ time dir_walker.py
> 432034130
> 0.25 real         0.13 user         0.10 sys
>
> 2. Perl (same, count dir size)
> http://www.perlmonks.org/?node_id=168974
>
> use File::Find;
> my $size = 0;
> find(sub { $size += -s if -f $_ }, "/usr/share");
>
> $ time perl dir_walker.pl
> 432034130
> 0.13 real         0.05 user         0.08 sys
>
> 3. Ruby (same, count dir size):
>
> def directory_size(path)
>   path << '/' unless path.end_with?('/')
>   raise RuntimeError, "#{path} is not a directory" unless
> File.directory?(path)
>   total_size = 0
>   Dir["#{path}**/*"].each do |f|
>     total_size += File.size(f) if File.file?(f) && File.size?(f)
>   end
>   total_size
> end
> puts directory_size '/usr/share’
>
> $ time walker.rb
> 432028422
> 0.21 real         0.09 user         0.11 sys
>
> 4. Lua:
> From: http://lua-users.org/wiki/DirTreeIterator
>
> require "lfs"
>
> function dirtree(dir)
>   assert(dir and dir ~= "", "directory parameter is missing or empty")
>   if string.sub(dir, -1) == "/" then
>     dir=string.sub(dir, 1, -2)
>   end
>
>   local function yieldtree(dir)
>     for entry in lfs.dir(dir) do
>       if entry ~= "." and entry ~= ".." then
>         entry=dir.."/"..entry
> local attr=lfs.attributes(entry)
> coroutine.yield(entry,attr)
> if attr.mode == "directory" then
>   yieldtree(entry)
> end
>       end
>     end
>   end
>
>   return coroutine.wrap(function() yieldtree(dir) end)
> end
>
> for filename, attr in dirtree("/usr/share") do
>       print(attr.mode, filename)
> end
>
> $ luarocks install luafilesystem
> $ time lua walker.lua > /dev/null
> 0.30 real         0.16 user         0.14 sys
>
> Do you need more?
>
> Thanks for you help.
> /Frank
>
> Le sam. 10 déc. 2016 à 00:51, Stanislaw Klekot <> a
> écrit :
>
> On Fri, Dec 09, 2016 at 11:15:58PM +0000, Frank Muller wrote:
>
> > I would like to improve the speed of my directory walker.
>
> >
>
> > walk(Dir) ->
>
> >     {ok, Files} = prim_file:list_dir(Dir),
>
> >     walk(Dir, Files).
>
>
>
> Why prim_file:list_dir() instead of file:list_dir()? The former is
>
> undocumented internal function.
>
>
>
> [...]
>
> > Compared to almost anything i found on the web, it’s still very slow:
>
> > > timer:tc(fun() -> dir:walk("/usr/share") end).
>
> > {4662361,ok}
>
>
>
> What is it this "anything you found on the web"? And how did you run
>
> your comparisons? There's a large difference between first and second
>
> consequent run caused by OS' directory cache, and there's large
>
> difference between simply walking through the directory and walking with
>
> printing something to the screen for every file.
>
>
>
> Then there's also your using filelib:is_dir() and then
>
> filelib:file_size(), which means two stat(2) calls, while you only need
>
> to do it once per file (file:read_file_info()).
>
>
>
> --
>
> Stanislaw Klekot
>
>
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