Executing a callback for all files in a directory

Posted 17 June 2009

A common question when dealing with deep directory structures concerns how a function can be applied recursively to all the files in the target directory, regardless of the depth. This function, directory_walk, builds an internal stack (uses no recursion) and iteratively applies the user supplied callback providing a fast and flexible approach.

 * Allows running a callback on all files in a deep directory structure
 * @author Aidan Lister <aidan@php.net>
 * @param string $dirname The directory to walk
 * @param callable $callable The callable to execute on all files found
 * @param mixed $arg{n} Extra parameters to be passed to the callable
 * @return mixed The return value of the last callable run
function directory_walk($dirname, $callable)
    $ignore = array('.', '..', '.DS_Store');
    $args = func_get_args();

    // Sanity check    

    if (!file_exists($dirname)) {
        return false;

    // Create and iterate stack

    $stack = array($dirname);
    while ($entry = array_pop($stack)) {
        if (is_link($entry)) continue;
        // Run the action

        if (is_file($entry)) {
          $ret = call_user_func_array($callable, array($entry) + $args);
        // Add the directory into the stack

        $dh = opendir($entry);
        while (false !== $child = readdir($dh)) {
            if (in_array($child, $ignore)) continue;
            $child = $entry . DIRECTORY_SEPARATOR . $child;
            $stack[] = $child;

    return $ret;

So, for some examples. We’ll start simple and simply print the directory:

$func = create_function('$file', 'echo "found $file";');
directory_walk('target-dir', $func);

Which for me outputs: found target-dir/foo found target-dir/bar found target-dir/baz found target-dir/baz/ding found target-dir/baz/dong found target-dir/baz/dong/witch

What if we wanted to add a .txt extension to all of these files? We could write:

function my_rename($entry, $extension) {
    if (is_file($entry)) {
        rename($entry, $entry . $extension);
directory_walk('target-dir', 'my_rename', '.txt');

Another example might be deleting all the .svn or CVS folders in a directory. We could write:

function delsvn($file) {
  $ext = substr($file, strlen($file)-4,strlen($file));
  if ($ext === '.svn') rmdirr($ext);
directory_walk('test', 'delsvn');

Note that the above example used the recursive delete function also.

Happy stacking.