Python database of plain text editable by notepad or vi

Harishankar v.harishankar at
Fri Mar 26 11:04:51 CET 2010

On Fri, 26 Mar 2010 02:49:53 -0700 (PDT)
James Harris <james.harris.1 at> wrote:

> On 25 Mar, 22:56, Jon Clements <jon... at> wrote:
> > On 25 Mar, 22:40, James Harris <james.harri... at>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > I am looking to store named pieces of text in a form that can be
> > > edited by a standard editor such as notepad (under Windows) or vi
> > > (under Unix) and then pulled into Python as needed. The usual
> > > record locking and transactions of databases are not required.
> >
> > > Another way to look at it is to treat the separate files as
> > > entries in a dictionary. The file name would be the key and the
> > > lines of the file the value.
> >
> > > Anyone know of a database (with a Python interface) which will
> > > allow text files to be treated as database fields? If not I can
> > > just write it but I thought it best to ask if there was an
> > > existing solution first.
> ...
> > I could be missing something here, but aren't you basically just
> > talking about an OS's filesystem?
> For storage, yes. The files would be marked-up text stored in the
> filesystem. The "dbms" (I use the term loosely!) would provide access
> to them by some full or partial key mechanism yet to be determined.
> Read-only access would do - at least for now.
> > glob or listdir somewhere, then create a dict using the file
> > contents would meet your criteria, with very little lines of code
> > -- but I would be interested to know what the use-case was for
> > this... Is it read completely at start up time, or if each file
> > contains a large amount of lines and aren't fixed width (or has no
> > other indexing support without maintenance), then is a complete
> > sequential-scan required each time, or do you just tell the user to
> > not update when running (unless I s'pose something along the lines
> > of a SIGHUP for config files is applicable).
> All good questions. For now, at least, the files can be read-only and
> I'd want those on disk to be the master copies at all times. If I was
> writing it myself I'd probably 'cache' some files in memory and stat
> them before use. If newer I would reread the file.
> >
> > Sorry, just don't understand why you'd want this.
> I tried to avoid boring folks with the details. I'm toying with some
> ideas for a way to help generate source code (in various languages,
> not just Python). If it goes ahead the text files would be mainly
> marked-up code snippets - with or without symbols that need to be
> replaced.
> Rather than write one single monolithic app I thought to split it into
> reusable components. One part being data access could perhaps be an
> existing database (and I'll take a look at jkn's suggestion).
> Think of the database as similar to an associative array stored on
> disk. The only difference is I may want to play fast and loose with
> the keys in some ways - e.g. check for partial key matches or return a
> list of part-matched keys. The language name could be part of the key
> but I'd also need to store variants for specific language versions.
> I'm not sure yet how it will all pan out. As I say, just throwing
> around some ideas.
> James

I am not sure exactly what you need, but would you consider using
something like ConfigParser module provided by Python? It appears to be
something similar to what you need.


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