How to use Nant/Ant naming patterns


I have to admit that I always forgot the syntactical intracacies of the naming patterns for Nant (eg. those used in filesets). The double asterisk/single asterisk stuff seems to be very forgettable in my mind.

Can someone provide a definitive guide to the naming patterns?

Best Answer

The rules are:

  • a single star (*) matches zero or more characters within a path name
  • a double star (**) matches zero or more characters across directory levels
  • a question mark (?) matches exactly one character within a path name

Another way to think about it is double star (**) matches slash (/) but single star (*) does not.

Let's say you have the files:

  1. bar.txt
  2. src/bar.c
  3. src/baz.c
  4. src/test/bartest.c

Then the patterns:

  • *.c             matches nothing (there are no .c files in the current directory)
  • src/*.c     matches 2 and 3
  • */*.c         matches 2 and 3 (because * only matches one level)
  • **/*.c       matches 2, 3, and 4 (because ** matches any number of levels)
  • bar.*         matches 1
  • **/bar.*   matches 1 and 2
  • **/bar*.* matches 1, 2, and 4
  • src/ba?.c matches 2 and 3    
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