Create empty file using python


I'd like to create a file with path x using python. I've been using os.system(y) where y = 'touch %s' % (x). I've looked for a non-directory version of os.mkdir, but I haven't been able to find anything. Is there a tool like this to create a file without opening it, or using system or popen/subprocess?

9/29/2012 5:30:23 PM

Accepted Answer

There is no way to create a file without opening it There is os.mknod("newfile.txt") (but it requires root privileges on OSX). The system call to create a file is actually open() with the O_CREAT flag. So no matter how, you'll always open the file.

So the easiest way to simply create a file without truncating it in case it exists is this:

open(x, 'a').close()

Actually you could omit the .close() since the refcounting GC of CPython will close it immediately after the open() statement finished - but it's cleaner to do it explicitely and relying on CPython-specific behaviour is not good either.

In case you want touch's behaviour (i.e. update the mtime in case the file exists):

import os
def touch(path):
    with open(path, 'a'):
        os.utime(path, None)

You could extend this to also create any directories in the path that do not exist:

basedir = os.path.dirname(path)
if not os.path.exists(basedir):
3/20/2016 9:29:55 AM

Of course there IS a way to create files without opening. It's as easy as calling os.mknod("newfile.txt"). The only drawback is that this call requires root privileges on OSX.

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