Fix Python – How to open a file using the open with statement

Question

Asked By – Disnami

I’m looking at how to do file input and output in Python. I’ve written the following code to read a list of names (one per line) from a file into another file while checking a name against the names in the file and appending text to the occurrences in the file. The code works. Could it be done better?

I’d wanted to use the with open(... statement for both input and output files but can’t see how they could be in the same block meaning I’d need to store the names in a temporary location.

def filter(txt, oldfile, newfile):
    '''\
    Read a list of names from a file line by line into an output file.
    If a line begins with a particular name, insert a string of text
    after the name before appending the line to the output file.
    '''

    outfile = open(newfile, 'w')
    with open(oldfile, 'r', encoding='utf-8') as infile:
        for line in infile:
            if line.startswith(txt):
                line = line[0:len(txt)] + ' - Truly a great person!\n'
            outfile.write(line)

    outfile.close()
    return # Do I gain anything by including this?

# input the name you want to check against
text = input('Please enter the name of a great person: ')    
letsgo = filter(text,'Spanish', 'Spanish2')

Now we will see solution for issue: How to open a file using the open with statement


Answer

Python allows putting multiple open() statements in a single with. You comma-separate them. Your code would then be:

def filter(txt, oldfile, newfile):
    '''\
    Read a list of names from a file line by line into an output file.
    If a line begins with a particular name, insert a string of text
    after the name before appending the line to the output file.
    '''

    with open(newfile, 'w') as outfile, open(oldfile, 'r', encoding='utf-8') as infile:
        for line in infile:
            if line.startswith(txt):
                line = line[0:len(txt)] + ' - Truly a great person!\n'
            outfile.write(line)

# input the name you want to check against
text = input('Please enter the name of a great person: ')    
letsgo = filter(text,'Spanish', 'Spanish2')

And no, you don’t gain anything by putting an explicit return at the end of your function. You can use return to exit early, but you had it at the end, and the function will exit without it. (Of course with functions that return a value, you use the return to specify the value to return.)

Using multiple open() items with with was not supported in Python 2.5 when the with statement was introduced, or in Python 2.6, but it is supported in Python 2.7 and Python 3.1 or newer.

http://docs.python.org/reference/compound_stmts.html#the-with-statement
http://docs.python.org/release/3.1/reference/compound_stmts.html#the-with-statement

If you are writing code that must run in Python 2.5, 2.6 or 3.0, nest the with statements as the other answers suggested or use contextlib.nested.

This question is answered By – steveha

This answer is collected from stackoverflow and reviewed by FixPython community admins, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5 , cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0