A Newbie Question: How To Call Other Python Programs From A Main Python Program.

Trent Mick trentm at ActiveState.com
Mon Dec 11 11:39:38 EST 2000

On Mon, Dec 11, 2000 at 04:01:52PM +0000, jbranthoover at my-deja.com wrote:
> Hello All,
> 	I have written several small Python programs.  These programs
> are not just functions but complete programs with their own menuing
> systems.
>         My question is,  how do I (and is it a good idea) call these
> independent Python programs from one main program that selects which
> program to run from a main menu?  I tried to use the import command.
> This seems to work OK except that the programs only run once.  If the
> same program is selected from the menu,  nothing happens.  It seems to
> return immediately without running the program.

That is because an import call in Python will only execute (if that is the
correct term) the top-level Python code in that module the first time. The
module information is effectively cached after that. You *can* use the reload
function to force a reload of your modules, however the best way to set this
up is probably to change your Python programs so that their functionality is
in a function and then have you menu program run that function each time. So:

-------- func1.py ------------
def DoIt():
    print "hello from func1.py"

if __name__ == "__main__":
    # this is a magical way to get DoIt() to run only when func1.py
    # is run from the command line, this block is *not* run when you
    # "import func1" from another Python program. 

-------- func2.py ------------
def DoIt():
    print "hello from func2.py"

if __name__ == "__main__":

------------- menu.py ---------------------------------------
import func1, func2
import sys

if len(sys.argv) == 0:
    print "error: must have one argument"
elif sys.argv[0] == "func1":
elif sys.argv[0] == "func2":
    print "error: unrecognized function name:", sys.argv[0]

Then try running:

   python func1.py
   python menu.py func1
   python menu.py func2

Hope that helps,

Trent Mick
TrentM at ActiveState.com

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