Bash Function to Find Newest File Matching Pattern

Bash function to find newest file matching pattern

The ls command has a parameter -t to sort by time. You can then grab the first (newest) with head -1.

ls -t b2* | head -1

But beware: Why you shouldn't parse the output of ls

My personal opinion: parsing ls is only dangerous when the filenames can contain funny characters like spaces or newlines. If you can guarantee that the filenames will not contain funny characters then parsing ls is quite safe.

If you are developing a script which is meant to be run by many people on many systems in many different situations then I very much do recommend to not parse ls.

Here is how to do it "right": How can I find the latest (newest, earliest, oldest) file in a directory?

unset -v latest
for file in "$dir"/*; do
[[ $file -nt $latest ]] && latest=$file

How to follow (tail -f) the latest file (matching a pattern) in a directory and call as alias with parameter

tail -f "$(find . -maxdepth 1 -name "logfile*" -printf "%Ts/%f\n" | sort -n | tail -1 | cut -d/ -f2)"

Tail the result of the find command. Search for files prefixed with logfile in the current directory and print the epoch time of creation as well as the file path and name, separated by a forward slash Pipe this through to sort and then print the latest entry with tail -1 before stripping out to to leave only the file path with cut.

Get most recent file in a directory on Linux

ls -Art | tail -n 1

Not very elegant, but it works.

Used flags:

-A list all files except . and ..

-r reverse order while sorting

-t sort by time, newest first

How to recursively find the latest modified file in a directory?

find . -type f -printf '%T@ %p\n' \
| sort -n | tail -1 | cut -f2- -d" "

For a huge tree, it might be hard for sort to keep everything in memory.

%T@ gives you the modification time like a unix timestamp, sort -n sorts numerically, tail -1 takes the last line (highest timestamp), cut -f2 -d" " cuts away the first field (the timestamp) from the output.

Edit: Just as -printf is probably GNU-only, ajreals usage of stat -c is too. Although it is possible to do the same on BSD, the options for formatting is different (-f "%m %N" it would seem)

And I missed the part of plural; if you want more then the latest file, just bump up the tail argument.

Get the latest file in directory

Add the -d argument to ls. That way it will always print just what it's told, not look inside directories.

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