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A function to find the newest file in a directory

Terminal - A function to find the newest file in a directory
newest () { find ${1:-\.} -type f |xargs ls -lrt ; }
2010-02-04 14:52:17
User: mobidyc
Functions: find ls xargs
A function to find the newest file in a directory


There is 1 alternative - vote for the best!

Terminal - Alternatives
find /path/to/dir -type f -printf "%T@|%p\n" 2>/dev/null | sort -n | tail -n 1| awk -F\| '{print $2}'
newest () { candidate=''; for i in "$@"; do [[ -f $i ]] || continue; [[ -z $candidate || $i -nt $candidate ]] && candidate="$i"; done; echo "$candidate"; }
2009-10-29 17:35:01
User: johnraff
Functions: echo
Tags: bash files

Usage example:

newest Desktop/*

Replace "-nt" with "-ot" for oldest.


shopt -s dotglob

first to include dotfiles.

newest () { DIR=${1:-'.'}; CANDIDATE=`find $DIR -type f|head -n1`; while [[ ! -z $CANDIDATE ]]; do BEST=$CANDIDATE; CANDIDATE=`find $DIR -newer "$BEST" -type f|head -n1`; done; echo "$BEST"; }
2010-02-04 12:40:44
User: shadycraig
Functions: echo head

Works recusivley in the specified dir or '.' if none given.

Repeatedly calls 'find' to find a newer file, when no newer files exist you have the newest.

In this case 'newest' means most recently modified. To find the most recently created change -newer to -cnewer.

Know a better way?

If you can do better, submit your command here.

What others think

I gave my vote to this one:

newest () { find ${1:-\.} -type f |xargs ls -lrt ; }

But I have to ask, why write a function for this when a simple $(ls -ltr) would do? Then again, are we assuming the last file that was modified in that directory wasn't a .file? Then we should do $(ls -altr). My $0.02.

Comment by unixhome 392 weeks and 3 days ago

I forgot to mention that this function is better for recursive use.

dis you ever try an

ls -lrtR

ls is not not efficiently for this.

Comment by mobidyc 387 weeks and 6 days ago

The top command only works if the list of files is small enough to fit in a single run of ls -- the purpose of xargs is to split a very large number of arguments up according to the OS's maximum supported (usually 4096 at a time or so). So, there will be a separate call to ls -lrt for every batch of 4096 files, and the file at the bottom is the newest in the last batch, but not necessarily the newest overall.

The one by glennie will work (I think), because the "sort -n" waits for the entire output of find before sorting.

Comment by thetrivialstuff 322 weeks and 3 days ago

Your point of view

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