Accessing the files by last modified time

Neil Cerutti neilc at
Thu Mar 22 14:06:36 CET 2012

On 2012-03-22, Tim Williams <tjandacw at> wrote:
> On Mar 22, 7:33?am, Sangeet <mrsang... at> wrote:
>> Hi
>> I am new to the python programming language.
>> I've been trying to write a script that would access the last
>> modified file in one of my directories. I'm using Win XP.
>> I saw a similar topic, on the forum before, however the reply
>> using (os.popen) didn't work out for me. I'm not sure whether
>> it was due to syntax errors either.
>> Thanks,
>> Sangeet
> Check out os.stat()

I've been using os.path.getmtime, and converting that to a
datetime object using datetime.datetime.fromtimestamp.

Surprisingly, perhaps, this has been working.

According to the docs, to avoid making any assumptiong,  I might
need to do:

tm = os.path.getmtime(apath)
lt = time.localtime(tm)
datetime.datetime(lt.tm_year, lt.tm_mon, lt.tm_mday)

Here's where I'm confused about the functioning of my original
plan. The docs say:

 [...]  The return value is a number giving the number of seconds
 since the epoch (see the time module). [...]

 classmethod datetime.fromtimestamp
 Return the local date and time corresponding to the POSIX
 timestamp, such as returned by time.time(). [...]

 Return the time as a floating point number expressed as seconds
 since the epoch, in UTC. [...]

I'm not completely sure the return type of getmtime and the
argument type of fromtimestamp are really the same or not. I
guess I came to that conclusion some time in the past, and it
does seem to work. It may be a simple case of just different
aspects the exact same type being being highlighted in each

Neil Cerutti

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