Simple Object assignment giving me errors

Nir nirchernia at
Wed Feb 12 22:42:28 CET 2014

Those two classes are from this code here(pasted below). Quite frankly, I don't understand this code. 

Also, UserDict is a built in module. I just typed it out so as to give reference or any clue as to why I cant instantiate jeez.


"""Framework for getting filetype-specific metadata.

Instantiate appropriate class with filename.  Returned object acts like a
dictionary, with key-value pairs for each piece of metadata.
    import fileinfo
    info = fileinfo.MP3FileInfo("/music/ap/mahadeva.mp3")
    print "\\n".join(["%s=%s" % (k, v) for k, v in info.items()])

Or use listDirectory function to get info on all files in a directory.
    for info in fileinfo.listDirectory("/music/ap/", [".mp3"]):

Framework can be extended by adding classes for particular file types, e.g.
HTMLFileInfo, MPGFileInfo, DOCFileInfo.  Each class is completely responsible for
parsing its files appropriately; see MP3FileInfo for example.

This program is part of "Dive Into Python", a free Python book for
experienced programmers.  Visit for the
latest version.

__author__ = "Mark Pilgrim (mark at"
__version__ = "$Revision: 1.3 $"
__date__ = "$Date: 2004/05/05 21:57:19 $"
__copyright__ = "Copyright (c) 2001 Mark Pilgrim"
__license__ = "Python"

import os
import sys
from UserDict import UserDict

def stripnulls(data):
    "strip whitespace and nulls"
    return data.replace("\00", " ").strip()

class FileInfo(UserDict):
    "store file metadata"
    def __init__(self, filename=None):
        self["name"] = filename
class MP3FileInfo(FileInfo):
    "store ID3v1.0 MP3 tags"
    tagDataMap = {"title"   : (  3,  33, stripnulls),
                  "artist"  : ( 33,  63, stripnulls),
                  "album"   : ( 63,  93, stripnulls),
                  "year"    : ( 93,  97, stripnulls),
                  "comment" : ( 97, 126, stripnulls),
                  "genre"   : (127, 128, ord)}
    def __parse(self, filename):
        "parse ID3v1.0 tags from MP3 file"
            fsock = open(filename, "rb", 0)
      , 2)
                tagdata =
            if tagdata[:3] == 'TAG':
                for tag, (start, end, parseFunc) in self.tagDataMap.items():
                    self[tag] = parseFunc(tagdata[start:end])
        except IOError:

    def __setitem__(self, key, item):
        if key == "name" and item:
        FileInfo.__setitem__(self, key, item)

def listDirectory(directory, fileExtList):
    "get list of file info objects for files of particular extensions"
    fileList = [os.path.normcase(f) for f in os.listdir(directory)]
    fileList = [os.path.join(directory, f) for f in fileList \
                if os.path.splitext(f)[1] in fileExtList]
    def getFileInfoClass(filename, module=sys.modules[FileInfo.__module__]):
        "get file info class from filename extension"
        subclass = "%sFileInfo" % os.path.splitext(filename)[1].upper()[1:]
        return hasattr(module, subclass) and getattr(module, subclass) or FileInfo
    return [getFileInfoClass(f)(f) for f in fileList]

if __name__ == "__main__":
    for info in listDirectory("/music/_singles/", [".mp3"]):
        print "\n".join(["%s=%s" % (k, v) for k, v in info.items()])


If this makes sense to you, great. I am trying to break it down so that I can make sense of it. As you mentioned self["name"] = filename doesn't work unless I built a class to handle it. I guess my question then, is how is the class handling it in this code? If you can show me by stripping it down to the bare minimum or write an example that would be awesome.

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