How to Generate Temporary Files With Python

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python tempfile module to create temporary files

The Python tempfile module can be used to create temporary files. With the Python tempfile module, you can create temporary files and directories to save some temporary data in it.

Why create Temporary Files?

You might be thinking, why would I need to create a Temporary File? The answer to this question is simple, you need to store some temporary data in a file and store it on a desk rather than hold it in the memory. This way your RAM will have more space to store data. We can have text data store in a string type variable but it will be a very resource-expensive task. So we come up with the idea of Generating Temporary Files.

Create A temporary File With Python

With the Python tempfile module, we can easily generate Temporary files. tempfile is a built-in module in the python programming language and you need not install it manually. It comes up with the installer bundle.

import tempfile
# create a Temporary file
fp = tempfile.TemporaryFile()
# write data to this tmeporary file
fp.write(b'AlixaProDev.com')
# read the data
fp.seek(0)
data=fp.read()
# print the data to console
print(data)
# close the file and the file will be gone
fp.close()


Create A Temporary Directory with Python

With Python tempfile module we can easily create a temporary directory or temporary folder, where we can put some temporary files in it. Once we create the temporary directory, we can put anything in it. But be aware of the red notice!, if you close the directory, The temporary directory will be gone and so will be the content in it.

import tempfile
dp = tempfile.TemporaryDirectory()
print(dp.name)
dp.cleanup()


Create A Temporary Directory with A Name

using the above code will create a temporary directory with a random name, if you want to create a temporary directory with a specific name you can do so, bypassing the name of the temporary directory in the parameter. But it will still add some junk character at the beginning of the name to make sure to avoid the name conflict.

import tempfile
dp = tempfile.TemporaryDirectory("tpname")
print(dp.name)
dp.cleanup()


Generate a Temporary File and Directory with Context Manager

We have seen how we can create a temporary file and directory, but we need to manually close the file and clean the directory to wipe it out. But with the context manager we do not have to do it manually but rather the context manager will take care of the closing of the file and cleaning up of the temporary directory that we have created.

# creating a tempoary file with Python
with tempfile.TemporaryFile() as tp:
    tp.write(b'the name of domain is alixa')
    tp.seek(0)
    data = tp.read()
    print(data)
    
# creating a temporary directory with Python
with tempfile.TemporaryDirectory() as td:
    print(f'{td.name} as created')


tempfile module Python - A comprehensive guide

We have seen how we can create temporary files with tempfile module in Python. We will discuss some of the important methods and classes available in the tempfile module. The Python tempfile module creates temporary files and directories. The tempfile module is supported by all platforms.

functions Available in tempfile module

All the user-callable functions and constructors take additional arguments which allow direct control over the location and name of temporary files and directories. Files names used by this module include a string of random characters which allows those files to be securely created in shared temporary directories. To maintain backward compatibility, the argument order is somewhat odd; it is recommended to use keyword arguments for clarity.

tempfile.TemporaryFile()

The TemporaryFile() class returns a file-like object that can be used to store data. There is additional parameter lists that you can pass to it. The file created with this method, It will be destroyed as soon as it is closed (including an implicit close when the object is garbage collected).

mode

The mode parameter defaults to 'w+b' so that the file created can be read and written without being closed.

# Example using the mode parameter
import tempfile
with tempfile.TemporaryFile('w+b') as tp:
    tp.write(b'the name of domain is alixa')
    tp.seek(0)
    data = tp.read()
    print(data)


suffix

If the suffix is not None, the file name will end with that suffix, otherwise,   there will be no suffix.

# passing the suffix paramter to create the .txt extension
import tempfile
with tempfile.TemporaryFile('w+b',suffix='.txt') as tp:
    tp.write(b'the name of domain is alixa')
    print(tp.name)


If the prefix is not None, the file name will begin with that prefix; otherwise, a default prefix is used.

# passing the suffix and prefix parameter
import tempfile
with tempfile.TemporaryFile('w+b',suffix='.txt',prefix='cs') as tp:
    tp.write(b'the name of domain is alixa')
    print(tp.name)


dir

If dir is not None, the file will be created in that directory; otherwise, a default directory is used. The default directory is chosen from a platform-dependent list.

# passing the dir paramter

import tempfile
with tempfile.TemporaryFile( dir='dirname') as tp:
    tp.write(b'the name of domain is alixa')
    print(tp.name)

tempfile.NamedTemporaryFile()

This function operates exactly as TemporaryFile() does, except that the file is guaranteed to have a visible name in the file system. That name can be retrieved from the name attribute of the returned file-like object. Whether the name can be used to open the file a second time, while the named temporary file is still open, varies across platforms.

Note that tempfile.NamedTemporaryFile() cannot be used. As the docs say, a file so created cannot be opened by name a second time on modern Windows boxes, and execfile() needs to open it.

# creating a tempoary file with Python
import tempfile
with tempfile.NamedTemporaryFile( ) as tp:
    tp.write(b'the name of domain is alixa')
    print(tp.name)

tempfile.SpooledTemporaryFile()

This function operates exactly as TemporaryFile() does, except that data is spooled in memory until the file size exceeds max_size, or until the file’s fileno() method is called, at which point the contents are written to disk and operation proceeds as with TemporaryFile().

tempfile.TemporaryDirectory()

This function securely creates a temporary directory using the same rules as mkdtemp(). The resulting object can be used as a context manager (see Examples). On completion of the context or destruction of the temporary directory object, the newly created temporary directory and all its contents are removed from the filesystem.

tempfile.mkstemp(suffix=None, prefix=None, dir=None, text=False)

Creates a temporary file in the most secure manner possible. There are no race conditions in the file’s creation, assuming that the platform properly implements the os.O_EXCL flag for os.open(). The file is readable and writable only by the creating user ID. If the platform uses permission bits to indicate whether a file is executable, the file is executable by no one. The file descriptor is not inherited by child processes.

tempfile.mkdtemp(suffix=None, prefix=None, dir=None)

Creates a temporary directory in the most secure manner possible. There are no race conditions in the directory’s creation. The directory is readable, writable, and searchable only by the creating user ID.

    See more :
  1. Read Audio File With Python
  2. Search a File in All Folders with Python
  3. Compress a file to zip format with Python
  4. File System with python
  5. Python Libraries for File Manipulation

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