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A python library for persisting data within a script.

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Existing persistent storage solutions suck because they decouple your code from the data that it needs to run. Under current solutions you must either use a local file, a database, or some external service in order to store your data in between executions of your script. These solutions are bad because with any local storage you have to remember to copy your data over too when you want to use your script somewhere else while still retaining the stored data. External services require internet connections, and those can be unreliable, which is very bad. Another potential solution is to just have your script never terminate, thus it would have no need to persist data as it will retain it in memory. This is obviously stupid.

Enter PyCaboose, a Python library for persisting data within the script file itself.


Using PyCaboose is very easy. Consider the following example:

from pycaboose import Value
a = Value(0)
a.value += 1

The first time you run this script, it will print out 0. Then, the next time you run the script, once the Value object is instantiated, it will perform a lookup for the most recent value, which is 1. So the print will instead print 1 instead of 0.

How does it do this? Good question.


The secret sauce to PyCaboose is its in-script database. When the pycaboose module is imported, it opens your script file and scans it for a special marker that it places there the first time it is imported. Then, any time a PyCaboose Value is changed, it writes the new value to the script. So, using the above example, after running the script the first time, it will instead look like this:

from pycaboose import Value
a = Value(0)
a.value += 1
# pycaboose #
# gANLA0sBhnEALg==

Breaking that down, it inserted a comment, # pycaboose #, which indicates where it will be storing data. This must be at the end of the file. Next, there is another comment, but this time it is more involved. There is a bunch of garbage. This garbage is a base64 encoded string. But what does it encode? Another good question.

The b64 encoded string encodes a pickle. That pickle encodes a tuple (line, value). The line is how we know which variable we are talking about, which is important if there is more than one Value in the script. (Note this means that at the moment two Values cannot be declared on the same line. Deal with it.) In this case, line will be 2, because we stored a on line 2. The value is the stored value of the object, which in this case is 1 as that is the most recent value of the Value.

Now if we were to run the script again, upon instantiating the Value, PyCaboose will know that it has stored a value for that Value and loads that rather than using the value the user specified.

For writes, PyCaboose truncates the file, removing the line that stored the old value of the Value if it was previously stored. It then writes back any data it may have removed, and then writes the new data to the end of the file. In doing so it creates something of a LRU cache where accessing Values that haven't been accessed in a while is slower than accessing the Value that was most recently modified.


Please note that this is more or less a joke and not really meant to be used. Please don't hold me responsible for data that is not persisted, or scripts that are completely mangled. For any import data you should have backups, backups of those backups, several GitHub repos containing the data, and the data should also be stored in DropBox, OneDrive, encoded and uploaded to YouTube, and should be stored on an insecure mongodb instance running on a raspberry pi in your closet.

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