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A simple wrapper around inotify. No fancy bells and whistles, just a literal wrapper with ctypes. Only 95 lines of code!

Project description

# inotify_simple 1.0

`inotify_simple` is a simple wrapper around
No fancy bells and whistles, just a literal wrapper with ctypes. Only 95
lines of code!

`inotify_init()` is wrapped as a class that does little more than hold the
resulting inotify file descriptor. A `read()` method is provided which reads
available data from the file descriptor and returns events as `namedtuple`s
after unpacking them with the `struct` module. `inotify_add_watch()` and
`inotify_rm_watch()` are wrapped with no changes at all, taking and returning
watch descriptor integers that calling code is expected to keep track of
itself, just as one would use inotify from C. Works with Python 2 or 3.

[View on PyPI]( |
[Fork me on github]( |
[Read the docs](

## Installation

to install `inotify_simple`, run:

$ pip install inotify_simple

or to install from source:

$ python install

`inotify_simple` is a small amount of code and unlikely to change much in the
future until inotify itself or Python changes, so you can also just copy and
paste it into your project to avoid the extra dependency with pretty low risk.

## Introduction

There are many inotify python wrappers out there. [I found them all
unsatisfactory]( Most are far too high-level for my
tastes, and the supposed convenience they provide actually limits one from
using inotify in ways other than those the author imagined. Others are C
extensions, requiring compilation for different platforms and Python versions,
rather than a pure python module using ctypes. This one is pretty low-level
and really just does what inotify itself does and nothing more. So hopefully
if I've written it right, it will remain functional well into the future with
no changes, recompilation or attention on my part.

## Example usage

import os
from inotify_simple import INotify, flags


inotify = INotify()
watch_flags = flags.CREATE | flags.DELETE | flags.MODIFY | flags.DELETE_SELF
wd = inotify.add_watch('/tmp/inotify_test', watch_flags)

# Now create, delete and modify some files in the directory being monitored:
# CREATE event for a directory:
os.system('mkdir foo')
# CREATE event for a file:
os.system('echo hello > test.txt')
# MODIFY event for the file:
os.system('echo world >> test.txt')
# DELETE event for the file
os.system('rm test.txt')
# DELETE event for the directory
os.system('rmdir foo')
# DELETE_SELF on the original directory. # Also generates an IGNORED event
# indicating the watch was removed.
os.system('rmdir inotify_test')

# And see the corresponding events:
for event in
for flag in flags.from_mask(event.mask):
print(' ' + str(flag))

This outputs the following:
Event(wd=1, mask=1073742080, cookie=0, name=u'foo')
Event(wd=1, mask=256, cookie=0, name=u'test.txt')
Event(wd=1, mask=2, cookie=0, name=u'test.txt')
Event(wd=1, mask=512, cookie=0, name=u'test.txt')
Event(wd=1, mask=1073742336, cookie=0, name=u'foo')
Event(wd=1, mask=1024, cookie=0, name=u'')
Event(wd=1, mask=32768, cookie=0, name=u'')

Note that the flags, since they are defined with an `enum.IntEnum`, print as
what they are called rather than their integer values. However they are still
just integers and so can be ANDed and ORed etc with masks etc. The
`flags.from_mask()` method ANDs a mask with all possible flags and returns a
list of matches. This is for convenience and useful for debugging which events
are coming through, but performance critical code should generally AND masks
with flags of interest itself so as to not do unnecessary checks.

[See here]( for more.

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