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Atomic file writes.

Project description

Atomic file writes.

from atomicwrites import atomic_write

with atomic_write('foo.txt', overwrite=True) as f:
    f.write('Hello world.')
    # "foo.txt" doesn't exist yet.

# Now it does.

Features that distinguish it from other similar libraries (see Alternatives and Credit):

  • Race-free assertion that the target file doesn’t yet exist. This can be controlled with the overwrite parameter.

  • Windows support, although not well-tested. The MSDN resources are not very explicit about which operations are atomic.

  • Simple high-level API that wraps a very flexible class-based API.

  • Consistent error handling across platforms.

How it works

It uses a temporary file in the same directory as the given path. This ensures that the temporary file resides on the same filesystem.

The temporary file will then be atomically moved to the target location: On POSIX, it will use rename if files should be overwritten, otherwise a combination of link and unlink. On Windows, it uses MoveFileEx (see MSDN) through stdlib’s ctypes with the appropriate flags.

Note that with link and unlink, there’s a timewindow where the file might be available under two entries in the filesystem: The name of the temporary file, and the name of the target file.

Alternatives and Credit

Atomicwrites is directly inspired by the following libraries (and shares a minimal amount of code):

Other alternatives to atomicwrites include:

  • sashka/atomicfile. Originally I considered using that, but at the time it was lacking a lot of features I needed (Windows support, overwrite-parameter, overriding behavior through subclassing).

  • The Boltons library collection features a class for atomic file writes, which seems to have a very similar overwrite parameter. It is lacking Windows support though.


Licensed under the MIT, see LICENSE.

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