How can I safely create a nested directory

0 votes

What is the most elegant way to check if the directory a file is going to be written to exists, and if not, create the directory using Python? Here is what I tried:

import os

file_path = "/my/directory/filename.txt"
directory = os.path.dirname(file_path)

try:
    os.stat(directory)
except:
    os.mkdir(directory)       

f = file(filename)

This is what I have now:

def ensure_dir(file_path):
    directory = os.path.dirname(file_path)
    if not os.path.exists(directory):
        os.makedirs(directory)

Is there a flag for "open", that makes this happen automatically?

Nov 18, 2020 in Python by Rajiv
• 8,880 points
75 views

1 answer to this question.

0 votes

Python 3.5+:

import pathlib
pathlib.Path('/my/directory').mkdir(parents=True, exist_ok=True) 

pathlib.Path.mkdir as used above recursively creates the directory and does not raise an exception if the directory already exists. If you don't need or want the parents to be created, skip the parent's argument.

Python 3.2+:

Using pathlib:

If you can, install the current pathlib backport named pathlib2. Do not install the older unmaintained backport named pathlib. Next, refer to the Python 3.5+ section above and use it the same.

If using Python 3.4, even though it comes with pathlib, it is missing the useful exist_ok option. The backport is intended to offer a newer and superior implementation of mkdir which includes this missing option.

Using os:

import os
os.makedirs(path, exist_ok=True)

os.makedirs as used above recursively creates the directory and does not raise an exception if the directory already exists. It has the optional exist_ok argument only if using Python 3.2+, with a default value of False. This argument does not exist in Python 2.x up to 2.7. As such, there is no need for manual exception handling as with Python 2.7.

Python 2.7+:

Using pathlib:

If you can, install the current pathlib backport named pathlib2. Do not install the older unmaintained backport named pathlib. Next, refer to the Python 3.5+ section above and use it the same.

Using os:

import os
try: 
    os.makedirs(path)
except OSError:
    if not os.path.isdir(path):
        raise

While a naive solution may first use os.path.isdir followed by os.makedirs, the solution above reverses the order of the two operations. In doing so, it prevents a common race condition having to do with a duplicated attempt at creating the directory, and also disambiguates files from directories.

Note that capturing the exception and using errno is of limited usefulness because OSError: [Errno 17] File exists, i.e. errno.EEXIST, is raised for both files and directories. It is more reliable simply to check if the directory exists.

Alternative:

mkpath creates the nested directory, and does nothing if the directory already exists. This works in both Python 2 and 3.

import distutils.dir_util
distutils.dir_util.mkpath(path)
answered Nov 18, 2020 by Gitika
• 65,870 points

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