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A type-safe abstraction for platform-independent file system paths.

fullPath = rootDir </> dir "baz" </> file "foo.png"

See the tests file for various example usages more.


bower install purescript-pathy
import Data.Path.Pathy


Applications often have to refer to file system paths in a platform-independent way.

Many path libraries provide a single abstraction to deal with file system paths. This allows easy composition of different kinds of paths, but comes at the expense of the following distinctions:

  • The distinction between relative and absolute paths.
  • The distinction between paths denoting file resources and paths denoting directories.
  • The distinction between paths that are secure (sandboxed to some location in the file system) and those that are insecure.

Pathy also uses a single abstraction for file system paths, called Path, but uses phantom types to keep track of the above distinctions.

This approach lets you write code that performs type-safe composition of relative, absolute, file, and directory paths, and makes sure you never use paths in an unsafe fashion. Bogus and insecure operations simply aren't allowed by the type system!

Many paths come from user-input or configuration data. Pathy can parse such string paths and allow you to safely resolve them to expected types.

Paths Literals

Building path liberals is easy. You will typically build path literals from the following components:

  • rootDir — The root directory of an absolute path.
  • currentDir — The current directory (AKA the "working directory"), useful for building relative paths.
  • file — A file (in the current directory).
  • dir — A directory (in the current directory).
  • (</>) — Adds a relative path to the end of a (relative or absolute) path.
  • (<.>) — Sets the extension of a file path.
  • (<..>) — Ascends one level in a directory, then descends into the specified relative path.

For example:

  path1 = rootDir    </> dir "foo" </> dir "bar" </> file ""
  path2 = currentDir </> dir "foo"
in do
  trace $ show $ printPath path1
  trace $ show $ printPath path2

Pathy doesn't let you create combinators that don't make sense, such as:

rootDir    </> rootDir
currentDir </> rootDir
file "foo" </> file "bar"
file "foo" </> dir "bar"

All these combinations will be disallowed at compile time!

The Path Type

The Path a b s type has three type parameters:

  • a — This may be Abs or Rel, indicating whether the path is absolute or relative.
  • b — This may be Dir or File, indicating whether the path is a file or directory.
  • s — This may be Sandboxed or Unsandboxed, indicating whether the path has been sandboxed yet or not.

You should try to make the Path functions that you write as generic as possible. If you have a function that only cares if a path refers to a file, then you can write it like this:

myFunction :: forall a s. Path a File s -> ...
myFunction p = ...

By universally quantifying over the type parameters you don't care about, you ensure your code will work with the most paths possible (you also are documenting the expectations of your function to other developers who read your code).

Parse Paths from Strings

To parse a string into a Path, you can use the parsePath function, which expects you to handle four cases:

  • Path Rel File Unsandboxed
  • Path Abs File Unsandboxed
  • Path Rel Dir Unsandboxed
  • Path Abs Dir Unsandboxed

If you need a specific case, you can use helper functions such as parseRelFile, which return a Maybe.

Print Paths to Strings

You can print any path as a String by calling the printPath function.

For security reasons, you can only perform this operation if you have sandboxed the path. Sandboxing a path ensures that users cannot escape a sandbox directory that you specify; it's the right thing to do!


Pathy makes it easy to create relative paths, even paths that ascend into parent directories of relative paths.

With this power comes danger: if you parse a user string, the user may be able to escape any arbitrary directory.

Pathy solves this security problem by disallowing conversion from a Path to a String until the Path has been sandboxed.

To sandbox a path, you just call sandbox and provide the sandbox directory, as well as the path to sandbox:

sandbox (rootDir </> dir "foo") (rootDir </> dir "foo" </> dir "bar")

This returns a Maybe, which is either equal to Nothing if the tainted path escapes the sandbox, or Just p, where p is the tainted path, relative to the sandbox path.

After you have sandboxed a foreign path, you may call printPath on it. There's no need to remember this rule because it's enforced at compile-time by phantom types!

All the path literals you build by hand are automatically sandboxed, unless you call parentDir' on them.

Renaming, Transforming, Etc.

There are many other functions available to you for renaming files, renaming directories, getting parent directories, etc.

These are all documented on Pursuit, and you can find test usages for most of them.

Documentation for all functions and types is published on Pursuit.