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18.3. Creating a Temporary File

18.3.3. Discussion

The function tmpfile( ) creates a file with a unique name and returns a file handle. The file is removed when fclose( ) is called on that file handle, or the script ends.

Alternatively, tempnam( ) generates a filename. It takes two arguments: the first is a directory, and the second is a prefix for the filename. If the directory doesn't exist or isn't writeable, tempnam( ) uses the system temporary directory — the TMPDIR environment variable in Unix or the TMP environment variable in Windows. For example:

$tempfilename = tempnam('/tmp','data-');
print "Temporary data will be stored in $tempfilename";
Temporary data will be stored in /tmp/data-GawVoL

Because of the way PHP generates temporary filenames, the filename tempnam( ) returns is actually created but left empty, even if your script never explicitly opens the file. This ensures another program won't create a file with the same name between the time that you call tempnam( ) and the time you call fopen( ) with the filename.



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