The information about which directories to search when an alias is
encountered is extended by clauses for the hook predicate
user:file_search_path/2, of the following form:
must be an atom. It can be used as an alias for DirectorySpec.
Can either be an atom, spelling out the name of a directory, or a compound term using other path aliases to define the location of the directory.
The directory path may be absolute, as in (A) or relative as in (B), which defines a path relative to the current working directory.
Then, files may be referred to by using file specifications of the
form similar to
library(file). For example, (C), names the file
/usr/jackson/.login, while (D) specifies the path etc/demo/my_demo
relative to the current working directory.
user:file_search_path(home, '/usr/jackson'). (A) user:file_search_path(demo, 'etc/demo'). (B) home('.login') (C) demo(my_demo) (D)
As mentioned above, it is also possible to have multiple definitions
for the same alias. If clauses (E) and (F) define the
to locate the file specified by (G) each
home directory is
searched in sequence for the file .login. If /usr/jackson/.login
exists, it is used. Otherwise, /u/jackson/.login is used if it
user:file_search_path(home, '/usr/jackson'). (E) user:file_search_path(home, '/u/jackson'). (F) home('.login') (G)
The directory specification may also be a term of arity 1, in which
case it specifies that the argument of the term is relative to the
user:file_search_path/2 defined by its functor. For example, (H)
defines a directory relative to the directory given by the
alias. Therefore, the alias
sp_directory represents the search
path /usr/jackson/prolog/sp followed by /u/jackson/prolog/sp. Then,
the file specification (I) refers to the file (J), if it exists.
Otherwise, it refers to the file (K), if it exists.
user:file_search_path(sp_directory, home('prolog/sp')). (H) sp_directory(test) (I) /usr/jackson/prolog/sp/test (J) /u/jackson/prolog/sp/test (K)
Aliases such as
sp_directory are useful
because even if the
home directory changes, or the
sp_directory is moved to a different location, only the
user:file_search_path/2 facts need to be changed.
Programs relying on these paths are not affected by the change of
directories because they make use of file specifications of the form
All built-in predicates that take file specification arguments allow
these specifications to include path aliases defined by
The main predicate for expanding file specifications is
user:file_search_path/2 database may contain directories that do
not exist or are syntactically invalid (as far as the operating system
is concerned). If an invalid directory is part of the database, the
system will fail to find any files in it, and the directory will
effectively be ignored.