Ubuntu – Creating a directory of recently created files


On a system I have, files are uploaded through a series of various mechanisms into one central "incoming" directory. Once a day those files are processed and they are moved off to where they need to be (that logic isn't relevant here). They end up in a subdirectory of /files/. I guess a simple (albeit inaccurate in my specific case) would be to say that files that start with "a" get moved to /files/a/afile.

So I have a load of subdirectories in /files/. That's great and it works for me. However the client has just told me that it would be nice if there could be a "recently added" directory where files from the past week are available.

My first thought was to create a directory called /recent-files/ and extend the file processing script to do the following after it moves files out of /incoming/:

  1. Delete all files from within /recent-files/
  2. Scan /files/ for any file (not directory) created within a week
  3. Create a symlink for each to its real path and stick it in /recent-files/

Sounds like it would work but my bash is still pretty weak when it comes to arithmetic and file-creation dates. Can anybody lend me a hand crafting a find ... -exec ... statement that approximates parts two and three?

Of course, if there's another way of creating a command-line and NFS visible "search directory", let me know.

Best Answer

find -L files -type f -newerct '-7 days' -exec ln -s -t recent-files {} +

(Of course, change "files" and "recent-files" as appropriate.)

The 'c' used in -newer isn't creation time, it's the "change" field as shown by stat (the command, e.g. man 1 stat). It's currently uncommon for *nix filesystems to store creation time, but change ('c'), modification ('m'), and access ('a') time is available. If your filesystem does store creation time, you can use 'B' ("birth time") — you'll get an immediate error message if it's unsupported.

You can see the exact cutoff with date:

$ date -d '-7 days'
Sat Oct 16 02:46:27 UTC 2010
$ date  # this was executed one second later
Sat Oct 23 02:46:28 UTC 2010