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Read and write meta data, such as tags/keywords, Finder comments, etc. on MacOS files

Project description

osxmetadata

Code style: black License: MIT

What is osxmetadata?

osxmetadata provides a simple interface to access various metadata about MacOS / OS X files. Currently supported metadata attributes include tags/keywords, Finder comments, authors, etc.

Motivation

Apple provides rich support for file metadata through various metadata extended attributes. MacOS provides tools to view and set these various metadata attributes. For example, mdls lists metadata associated with a file but doesn't let you edit the data while xattr allows the user to set extended attributes but requires the values be in the form of a MacOS plist which is impractical. osxmetadata makes it easy to to both view and manipulate the MacOS metadata attributes, either programmatically or through a command line tool.

Supported operating systems

Only works on MacOS. Requires Python 3.7+.

Installation instructions

osxmetadata uses setuptools, thus simply run:

python setup.py install

Command Line Usage

Installs command line tool called osxmetadata which provides a simple interface to view/edit metadata supported by osxmetadata.

If you only care about the command line tool, I recommend installing with pipx

The command line tool can also be run via python -m osxmetadata. Running it with no arguments or with --help option will print a help message:

Usage: osxmetadata [OPTIONS] FILE

  Read/write metadata from file(s).

Options:
  -v, --version                   Show the version and exit.
  -h, --help                      Show this message and exit.
  -w, --walk                      Walk directory tree, processing each file in
                                  the tree.
  -j, --json                      Print output in JSON format, for use with
                                  --list and --get.
  -X, --wipe                      Wipe all metadata attributes from FILE.
  -s, --set ATTRIBUTE VALUE       Set ATTRIBUTE to VALUE.
  -l, --list                      List all metadata attributes for FILE.
  -c, --clear ATTRIBUTE           Remove attribute from FILE.
  -a, --append ATTRIBUTE VALUE    Append VALUE to ATTRIBUTE.
  -g, --get ATTRIBUTE             Get value of ATTRIBUTE.
  -r, --remove ATTRIBUTE VALUE    Remove VALUE from ATTRIBUTE; only applies to
                                  multi-valued attributes.
  -u, --update ATTRIBUTE VALUE    Update ATTRIBUTE with VALUE; for multi-
                                  valued attributes, this adds VALUE to the
                                  attribute if not already in the list.
  -m, --mirror ATTRIBUTE1 ATTRIBUTE2
                                  Mirror values between ATTRIBUTE1 and
                                  ATTRIBUTE2 so that ATTRIBUTE1 = ATTRIBUTE2;
                                  for multi-valued attributes, merges values;
                                  for string attributes, sets ATTRIBUTE1 =
                                  ATTRIBUTE2 overwriting any value in
                                  ATTRIBUTE1.  For example: '--mirror keywords
                                  tags' sets tags and keywords to same values.
  -B, --backup                    Backup FILE attributes.  Backup file
                                  '.osxmetadata.json' will be created in same
                                  folder as FILE. Only backs up attributes
                                  known to osxmetadata.
  -R, --restore                   Restore FILE attributes from backup file.
                                  Restore will look for backup file
                                  '.osxmetadata.json' in same folder as FILE.
  -V, --verbose                   Print verbose output.
  -f, --copyfrom SOURCE_FILE      Copy attributes from file SOURCE_FILE.
  --files-only                    Do not apply metadata commands to
                                  directories themselves, only files in a
                                  directory.
  -p, --pattern PATTERN           Only process files matching PATTERN; only
                                  applies to --walk. If specified, only files
                                  matching PATTERN will be processed as each
                                  directory is walked. May be used for than
                                  once to specify multiple patterns. For
                                  example, tag all *.pdf files in projectdir
                                  and subfolders with tag 'project':
                                  osxmetadata --append tags 'project' --walk
                                  projectdir/ --pattern '*.pdf'

Valid attributes for ATTRIBUTE: Each attribute has a short name, a constant
name, and a long constant name. Any of these may be used for ATTRIBUTE

For example: --set findercomment "Hello world"
or:          --set kMDItemFinderComment "Hello world"
or:          --set com.apple.metadata:kMDItemFinderComment "Hello world"

Attributes that are strings can only take one value for --set; --append will
append to the existing value.  Attributes that are arrays can be set multiple
times to add to the array: e.g. --set keywords 'foo' --set keywords 'bar' will
set keywords to ['foo', 'bar']

Options are executed in the following order regardless of order passed on the
command line: restore, wipe, copyfrom, clear, set, append, update, remove,
mirror, get, list, backup.  --backup and --restore are mutually exclusive.
Other options may be combined or chained together.

Finder tags (tags attribute) contain both a name and an optional color. To
specify the color, append comma + color name (e.g. 'red') after the tag name.
For example --set tags Foo,red. Valid color names are: gray, green, purple,
blue, yellow, red, orange. If color is not specified but a tag of the same
name has already been assigned a color in the Finder, the same color will
automatically be assigned.

Short Name      Description
authors         kMDItemAuthors, com.apple.metadata:kMDItemAuthors; The
                author, or authors, of the contents of the file.  A list of
                strings.
comment         kMDItemComment, com.apple.metadata:kMDItemComment; A comment
                related to the file.  This differs from the Finder comment,
                kMDItemFinderComment.  A string.
copyright       kMDItemCopyright, com.apple.metadata:kMDItemCopyright; The
                copyright owner of the file contents.  A string.
creator         kMDItemCreator, com.apple.metadata:kMDItemCreator;
                Application used to create the document content (for example
                “Word”, “Pages”, and so on).  A string.
description     kMDItemDescription, com.apple.metadata:kMDItemDescription; A
                description of the content of the resource.  The description
                may include an abstract, table of contents, reference to a
                graphical representation of content or a free-text account
                of the content.  A string.
downloadeddate  kMDItemDownloadedDate,
                com.apple.metadata:kMDItemDownloadedDate; The date the item
                was downloaded.  A date in ISO 8601 format, time and
                timezone offset are optional: e.g. 2020-04-14T12:00:00 (ISO
                8601 w/o timezone), 2020-04-14 (ISO 8601 w/o time and time
                zone), or 2020-04-14T12:00:00-07:00 (ISO 8601 with timezone
                offset). Times without timezone offset are assumed to be in
                local timezone.
findercomment   kMDItemFinderComment,
                com.apple.metadata:kMDItemFinderComment; Finder comments for
                this file.  A string.
finderinfo      FinderInfo, com.apple.FinderInfo; Color tag set by the
                Finder.  Colors can also be set by _kMDItemUserTags.  This
                is controlled by the Finder and it's recommended you don't
                directly access this attribute.  If you set or remove a
                color tag via _kMDItemUserTag, osxmetadata will
                automatically handle processing of FinderInfo color tag.
headline        kMDItemHeadline, com.apple.metadata:kMDItemHeadline; A
                publishable entry providing a synopsis of the contents of
                the file.  A string.
keywords        kMDItemKeywords, com.apple.metadata:kMDItemKeywords;
                Keywords associated with this file. For example, “Birthday”,
                “Important”, etc. This differs from Finder tags
                (_kMDItemUserTags) which are keywords/tags shown in the
                Finder and searchable in Spotlight using "tag:tag_name".  A
                list of strings.
tags            _kMDItemUserTags, com.apple.metadata:_kMDItemUserTags;
                Finder tags; searchable in Spotlight using "tag:tag_name".
                If you want tags/keywords visible in the Finder, use this
                instead of kMDItemKeywords.  A list of Tag objects.
wherefroms      kMDItemWhereFroms, com.apple.metadata:kMDItemWhereFroms;
                Describes where the file was obtained from (e.g. URL
                downloaded from).  A list of strings.

Supported Attributes

Information about commonly used MacOS metadata attributes is available from Apple.

osxmetadata currently supports the following metadata attributes:

Constant Short Name Long Constant Description
kMDItemAuthors authors com.apple.metadata:kMDItemAuthors The author, or authors, of the contents of the file. A list of strings.
kMDItemComment comment com.apple.metadata:kMDItemComment A comment related to the file. This differs from the Finder comment, kMDItemFinderComment. A string.
kMDItemCopyright copyright com.apple.metadata:kMDItemCopyright The copyright owner of the file contents. A string.
kMDItemCreator creator com.apple.metadata:kMDItemCreator Application used to create the document content (for example “Word”, “Pages”, and so on). A string.
kMDItemDescription description com.apple.metadata:kMDItemDescription A description of the content of the resource. The description may include an abstract, table of contents, reference to a graphical representation of content or a free-text account of the content. A string.
kMDItemDownloadedDate downloadeddate com.apple.metadata:kMDItemDownloadedDate The date the item was downloaded. A datetime.datetime object. If datetime.datetime object lacks tzinfo (i.e. it is timezone naive), it will be assumed to be in local timezone.
kMDItemFinderComment findercomment com.apple.metadata:kMDItemFinderComment Finder comments for this file. A string.
FinderInfo finderinfo com.apple.FinderInfo Color tag set by the Finder. Colors can also be set by _kMDItemUserTags. This is controlled by the Finder and it's recommended you don't directly access this attribute. If you set or remove a color tag via _kMDItemUserTag, osxmetadata will automatically handle processing of FinderInfo color tag.
kMDItemHeadline headline com.apple.metadata:kMDItemHeadline A publishable entry providing a synopsis of the contents of the file. A string.
kMDItemKeywords keywords com.apple.metadata:kMDItemKeywords Keywords associated with this file. For example, “Birthday”, “Important”, etc. This differs from Finder tags (_kMDItemUserTags) which are keywords/tags shown in the Finder and searchable in Spotlight using "tag:tag_name". A list of strings.
_kMDItemUserTags tags com.apple.metadata:_kMDItemUserTags Finder tags; searchable in Spotlight using "tag:tag_name". If you want tags/keywords visible in the Finder, use this instead of kMDItemKeywords. A list of Tag objects.
kMDItemWhereFroms wherefroms com.apple.metadata:kMDItemWhereFroms Describes where the file was obtained from (e.g. URL downloaded from). A list of strings.

Example uses of the package

Using the command line tool to set metadata:

Set Finder tags to Test, append "John Doe" to list of authors, clear (delete) description, set finder comment to "Hello World":

osxmetadata --set tags Test --append authors "John Doe" --clear description --set findercomment "Hello World" ~/Downloads/test.jpg

Set Finder tag Foo with color green:

osxmetadata --set tags Foo,green test.txt

Walk a directory tree and add the Finder tag "test" to every file:

osxmetadata --append tags "Test" --walk ~/Downloads

Walk a directory tree and add the Finder tag "project" to all .jpg and .pdf files:

osxmetadata --append tags "project" --walk projectdir --pattern "*.pdf" --pattern "*.jpg"

Using the programmatic interface

There are two ways to access metadata using the programmatic interface. First, an OSXMetaData object will create properties for each supported attribute using the "Short name" in table above. For example:

from osxmetadata import OSXMetaData, Tag

filename = 'foo.txt'
meta = OSXMetaData(filename)

# set description
meta.description = "This is my document."

# add "Foo" to tags
meta.tags += [Tag("Foo")]

# set authors to "John Doe" and "Jane Smith"
meta.authors = ["John Doe","Jane Smith"]

# clear copyright
meta.copyright = None

For additional details on using Finder tags, see Tag object.

If attribute is a list, most list methods can be used. For example:

>>> from osxmetadata import OSXMetaData, Tag
>>> md = OSXMetaData("test.txt")
>>> md.tags
[Tag('Blue', 4), Tag('Green', 2), Tag('Foo', 0)]
>>> md.tags.pop(1)
Tag('Green', 2)
>>> md.tags
[Tag('Blue', 4), Tag('Foo', 0)]
>>> md.tags.sort()
>>> md.tags
[Tag('Blue', 4), Tag('Foo', 0)]
>>> md.tags.append(Tag("Test"))
>>> md.tags
[Tag('Blue', 4), Tag('Foo', 0), Tag('Test', 0)]
>>> md.tags.extend([Tag("Test1"),Tag("Test2")])
>>> md.tags
[Tag('Blue', 4), Tag('Foo', 0), Tag('Test', 0), Tag('Test1', 0), Tag('Test2', 0)]
>>> md.tags.remove(Tag("Blue", 4))
>>> md.tags
[Tag('Foo', 0), Tag('Test', 0), Tag('Test1', 0), Tag('Test2', 0)]
>>> md.tags.remove(Tag("Blue", 4))
# ValueError if attempt to remove element not in list
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
  File "/Users/rhet/anaconda3/envs/osxmeta/lib/python3.8/_collections_abc.py", line 997, in remove
    del self[self.index(value)]
  File "/Users/rhet/anaconda3/envs/osxmeta/lib/python3.8/_collections_abc.py", line 911, in index
    raise ValueError
ValueError
>>> md.tags.count(Tag("Test"))
1
>>> md.tags.index(Tag("Test"))
1

If attribute is a date/time stamp (e.g. kMDItemDownloadedDate), value should be a datetime.datetime object (or a list of datetime.datetime objects depending on the attribute type).

Note: datetime.datetime objects may be naive (lack timezone info, e.g. tzinfo=None) or timezone aware (have an associated timezone). If datetime.datetime object lacks timezone info, it will be assumed to be local time. MacOS stores date values in extended attributes as UTC timestamps so all datetime.datetime objects will undergo appropriate conversion prior to writing to the extended attribute. See also tz_aware.

>>> import osxmetadata
>>> md = osxmetadata.OSXMetaData("/Users/rhet/Downloads/test.zip")
>>> md.downloadeddate
[datetime.datetime(2020, 4, 14, 17, 51, 59, 40504)]
>>> now = datetime.datetime.now()
>>> md.downloadeddate = now
>>> md.downloadeddate
[datetime.datetime(2020, 4, 15, 22, 17, 0, 558471)]

If attribute is string, it can be treated as a standard python str:

>>> import osxmetadata
>>> md = osxmetadata.OSXMetaData("/Users/rhet/Downloads/test.jpg")
>>> md.findercomment = "Hello world"
>>> md.findercomment
'Hello world'
>>> md.findercomment += ". Goodbye"
>>> md.findercomment
'Hello world. Goodbye'
>>> "world" in md.findercomment
True

The second way to access metadata is using methods from OSXMetaData to get/set/update etc. the various attributes. The various methods take the name of the attribute to be operated on which can be specified using either the short name, constant, or long constant from the table above. osxmetadata also exports constants with the same name as specified in the Apple documentation and the table above, for example, kMDItemDescription.

from osxmetadata import *

fname = 'foo.txt'
meta = OSXMetaData(fname)

description = meta.get_attribute(kMDItemDescription)

meta.set_attribute(kMDItemCreator,"OSXMetaData")

meta.append_attribute("tags", [Tag("Blue")])

meta.update_attribute("com.apple.metadata:kMDItemKeywords",["Foo"])

meta.append_attribute("findercomment","Goodbye")

meta.clear_attribute("tags")

OSXMetaData methods and attributes

Create an OSXMetaData object

md = osxmetadata.OSXMetaData(filename, tz_aware = False)

  • filename: filename to operate on
  • tz_aware: (boolean, optional); if True, attributes which return datetime.datetime objects such as kMDItemDownloadedDate will return timezone aware datetime.datetime objects with timezone set to UTC; if False (default), will return timezone naive objects in user's local timezone. See also tz_aware.

Once created, the following methods and attributes may be used to get/set metadata attribute data

name

name()

Returns POSIX path of the file OSXMetaData is operating on.

get_attribute

get_attribute(attribute_name)

Load attribute and return value or None if attribute was not set (for list attributes, returns empty list if not set).

  • attribute_name: an osxmetadata Attribute name

get_attribute_str

get_attribute_str(attribute_name)

Returns a string representation of attribute value. e.g. if attribute is a datedate.datetime object, will format using datetime.isoformat()

  • attribute_name: an osxmetadata Attribute name

set_attribute

set_attribute(attribute_name, value)

Write attribute to file with value

  • attribute_name: an osxmetadata Attribute name
  • value: value to store in attribute

update_attribute

update_attribute(attribute_name, value)

Update attribute with union of itself and value. This avoids adding duplicate values to attribute.

  • attribute: an osxmetadata Attribute name
  • value: value to append to attribute

Note: implementation simply calls append_attribute with update=True; provided for convenience.

append_attribute

append_attribute(attribute_name, value, update=False)

Append value to attribute.

  • attribute_name: an osxmetadata Attribute name
  • value: value to append to attribute
  • update: (bool) if True, update instead of append (e.g. avoid adding duplicates, default is False)

remove_attribute

remove_attribute(attribute_name, value)

Remove a value from attribute, raise ValueError if attribute does not contain value. Only applies to multi-valued attributes, otherwise raises TypeError.

  • attribute_name: name of OSXMetaData attribute

discard_attribute

discard_attribute(attribute_name, value)

Remove a value from attribute, unlike remove, does not raise exception if attribute does not contain value. Only applies to multi-valued attributes, otherwise raises TypeError.

  • attribute_name: name of OSXMetaData attribute

clear_attribute

clear_attribute(attribute_name)

Clear anttribute (remove it from the file).

  • attribute_name: name of OSXMetaData attribute

list_metadata

list_metadata()

List the Apple metadata attributes set on the file. e.g. those in com.apple.metadata namespace.

to_json

to_json()

Return dict in JSON format with all attributes for this file. Format is the same as used by the command line --backup/--restore functions.

asdict

asdict()

Returns a dictionary of attribute values for the dictionary object in form:

{'_version': '0.99.6', '_filepath': '/Users/rhet/Desktop/t.txt', '_filename': 't.txt', 'com.apple.metadata:_kMDItemUserTags': [['Hello', 0]], 'com.apple.metadata:kMDItemComment': 'test', 'com.apple.metadata:kMDItemFinderComment': 'Foo'}

tz_aware

tz_aware

Property (boolean, default = False). If True, any attribute that returns a datetime.datetime object will return a timezone aware object. If False, datetime.datetime attributes will return timezone naive objects.

For example:

>>> import osxmetadata
>>> import datetime
>>> md = osxmetadata.OSXMetaData("/Users/rhet/Downloads/test.zip")
>>> md.downloadeddate
[datetime.datetime(2020, 4, 14, 17, 51, 59, 40504)]
>>> now = datetime.datetime.now()
>>> md.downloadeddate = now
>>> md.downloadeddate
[datetime.datetime(2020, 4, 15, 22, 17, 0, 558471)]
>>> md.tz_aware = True
>>> md.downloadeddate
[datetime.datetime(2020, 4, 16, 5, 17, 0, 558471, tzinfo=datetime.timezone.utc)]
>>> utc = datetime.datetime.utcnow()
>>> utc
datetime.datetime(2020, 4, 16, 5, 25, 10, 635417)
>>> utc = utc.replace(tzinfo=datetime.timezone.utc)
>>> utc
datetime.datetime(2020, 4, 16, 5, 25, 10, 635417, tzinfo=datetime.timezone.utc)
>>> md.downloadeddate = utc
>>> md.downloadeddate
[datetime.datetime(2020, 4, 16, 5, 25, 10, 635417, tzinfo=datetime.timezone.utc)]
>>> md.tz_aware = False
>>> md.downloadeddate
[datetime.datetime(2020, 4, 15, 22, 25, 10, 635417)]

Tag object

Unlike other attributes, Finder tags (_kMDItemUserTags) have two components: a name (str) and a color ID (unsigned int in range 0 to 7) represting a color tag in the Finder. Reading tags returns a list of Tag objects and setting tags requires a list of Tag objects.

Create a Tag object

Tag(name,color)

  • name: tag name (str)
  • color: optional; color ID for Finder color label associated with tag (int)

If color is not provided, Tag will see if the user has already assigned a color to a tag of the same name via the Finder (Finder | Preferences | Tags) and if so, assign the same color. If a match is not found, the tag will be created with no color (osxmetadata.FINDER_COLOR_NONE)

Valid color constants (exported by osxmetadata):

  • FINDER_COLOR_GRAY = 1
  • FINDER_COLOR_GREEN = 2
  • FINDER_COLOR_PURPLE = 3
  • FINDER_COLOR_BLUE = 4
  • FINDER_COLOR_YELLOW = 5
  • FINDER_COLOR_RED = 6
  • FINDER_COLOR_ORANGE = 7
from osxmetadata import OSXMetaData, Tag, FINDER_COLOR_GREEN
md = OSXMetaData("test.txt")
md.tags = [Tag("Foo")]
md.tags += [Tag("Test",FINDER_COLOR_GREEN)]

Usage Notes

Changes are immediately written to the file. For example, OSXMetaData.tags.append("Foo") immediately writes the tag 'Foo' to the file.

Metadata is refreshed from disk every time a class property is accessed.

This will only work on file systems that support Mac OS X extended attributes.

Dependencies

bitstring

Click

PyObjC

xattr

Related Projects

  • tag A command line tool to manipulate tags on Mac OS X files, and to query for files with those tags.
  • osx-tags Python module to manipulate Finder tags in OS X.

Acknowledgements

This module was inspired by osx-tags by "Ben S / scooby". I leveraged osx-tags to bootstrap the design of this module. I wanted a more general OS X metadata library so I rolled my own. This module is published under the same MIT license as osx-tags.

To set the Finder comments, I use py-applescript by "Raymond Yee / rdhyee". Rather than import this module, I included the entire module (which is published as public domain code) in a private module to prevent ambiguity with other applescript modules on PyPi. py-applescript uses a native bridge via PyObjC and is very fast compared to the other osascript based modules.

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