A thin light-weight wrapper library, to make filesystem operations in Python suck less.

pip install filething==1.0.0



Filesystem operations are one of those things in the Python standard library that just kind of suck.

filething is a thin light-weight wrapper library, to make filesystem operations in Python suck less. It's primarily meant for read-only stuff, and doesn't do anything to set file attributes and so on.


WTFPL or CC0, your choice.


Theoretically cross-platform. Then again, Windows will probably be Windows and thus it may break there. I have no idea, I don't use Windows. All code is pure Python, anyway.


pip install filething

Done. You'll need pip, of course.


First of all, import filething.

import filething

Then there's a bunch of stuff you can do. To start working with a directory or file, create a Directory or File object respectively.

To create a new Directory object:

some_dir = filething.Directory("/path/to/directory")

To create a new File object:

some_file = filething.File("/path/to/file")

Entering a non-existent (or inaccessible) path will result in a filething.FilesystemException being raised.

Directory and File objects

The Directory and File classes have some things in common.


The following attributes are automatically set on both Directory and File objects:

  • path: The path of the file or directory.
  • name: The name of the file or directory. This is generally the part after the last slash.
  • is_symlink: Boolean. Whether the file/directory is a symlink or not.

Directory/File information

To learn more about a directory or file, you can use the stat or symlink_stat methods.

stat will give you the metadata for a file or directory, resolving a symlink if necessary. symlink_stat only applies to symbolic links, and gives you metadata about the symlink itself.

Trying to use symlink_stat on something that isn't a symlink, will raise a filething.FilesystemException. The symlink_stat function returns data in the same format as stat. The below applies to both.

metadata = some_file.stat()

By default, the stat data will be returned as a custom Attributes object, with more human-meaningful names than what Python provides. The below is a list of available attributes, with a description (and their original name in os.stat in parentheses). I'll assume that the metadata is stored in a metadata variable, as above.

As with Python's os.stat, the exact meaning and accuracy of lastmodified, lastaccessed and ctime differ across platforms and filesystems.

Cross-platform (more-or-less):

  • metadata.size (st_size): size of file, in bytes

  • metadata.lastaccessed (st_atime): time of most recent access

  • metadata.lastmodified (st_mtime): time of most recent content modification

  • metadata.uid (st_uid): user id of owner

  • metadata.gid (st_gid): group id of owner

  • metadata.mode (st_mode): protection bits

  • metadata.inode (st_ino): inode number

  • metadata.device (st_dev): device

  • metadata.links (st_nlink): number of hard links

  • metadata.ctime (st_ctime): platform dependent; time of most recent metadata change on Unix, or the time of creation on Windows

On some UNIX-like (eg. Linux):

  • metadata.blockcount (st_blocks): number of 512-byte blocks allocated for file
  • metadata.blocksize (st_blksize): filesystem blocksize for efficient file system I/O
  • metadata.devicetype (st_rdev): type of device if an inode device
  • metadata.userflags (st_flags): user defined flags for file

On some other UNIX-like (eg. FreeBSD):

  • metadata.filegen (st_gen): file generation number
  • metadata.creation (st_birthtime): time of file creation

On Mac OS:

  • metadata.rsize (st_rsize): ?
  • metadata.creator (st_creator): ?
  • metadata.type (st_type): ?


  • metadata.filetype (st_ftype): file type
  • metadata.attributes (st_attrs): attributes
  • metadata.objecttype (st_objtype): object type

You may access any of these attributes as either normal attributes, or as dictionary keys. The following are both valid:

filesize = metadata.size
filesize = metadata['size']

Optionally, you may pass True as a parameter to either stat or symlink_stat, to return the original data returned by os.stat, without changing the attribute names. This does, however, mean that dictionary key access no longer works. Example:

metadata = some_file.stat(True)
filesize = metadata.st_size     # Valid
filesize = metadata['st_size']  # Won't work!

Directory objects

There are some methods that are specific to directories, and only available on Directory objects.

Retrieving a child file/directory

You can use get to retrieve a File or Directory object for a child node. The type of node will automatically be detected, and either a File or Directory object will be returned as appropriate. The child doesn't have to be a direct child; it will simply join together the paths, so you can even retrieve nodes outside the path of the current Directory. A FilesystemException will be raised if the path does not exist.


child_dir = some_dir.get("assets")
deeper_child_file = some_dir.get("public/static/logo.png")
outside_dir = some_dir.get("../configuration")

Listing all child nodes

You may retrieve a list of File and Directory objects representing child nodes of the directory, by using get_children.

child_nodes = some_dir.get_children()

Alternatively, you may use get_files or get_directories to only retrieve child files and directories, respectively. All files and directories will be wrapped in File and Directory objects.

File objects

You may use File objects as actual Python file objects. There are three ways to do this:

As a context manager in read-only mode

The easiest way. The file object will be opened in rb (binary reading) mode. It will be automatically closed.

some_file = filething.File("/some/file/on/my/system")

with some_file as f:

As a context manager in another mode

If you need to do more than just reading, you may define an explicit mode. The file will still be automatically closed.

some_file = filething.File("/some/file/on/my/system")

with some_file("wb") as f:

As a normal function

If context managers are not an option for some reason, you may retrieve the corresponding Python file object through a regular method. If you don't specify a mode, it will default to rb.

Note that when using this method, you need to manually close the file!

some_file = filething.File("/some/file/on/my/system")

f = some_file.get_file_object("wb")