How do you get a directory listing sorted by creation date in python?


Question

What is the best way to get a list of all files in a directory, sorted by date [created | modified], using python, on a windows machine?

1
102
2/11/2009 8:34:41 PM

Accepted Answer

Here's a more verbose version of @Greg Hewgill's answer. It is the most conforming to the question requirements. It makes a distinction between creation and modification dates (at least on Windows).

#!/usr/bin/env python
from stat import S_ISREG, ST_CTIME, ST_MODE
import os, sys, time

# path to the directory (relative or absolute)
dirpath = sys.argv[1] if len(sys.argv) == 2 else r'.'

# get all entries in the directory w/ stats
entries = (os.path.join(dirpath, fn) for fn in os.listdir(dirpath))
entries = ((os.stat(path), path) for path in entries)

# leave only regular files, insert creation date
entries = ((stat[ST_CTIME], path)
           for stat, path in entries if S_ISREG(stat[ST_MODE]))
#NOTE: on Windows `ST_CTIME` is a creation date 
#  but on Unix it could be something else
#NOTE: use `ST_MTIME` to sort by a modification date

for cdate, path in sorted(entries):
    print time.ctime(cdate), os.path.basename(path)

Example:

$ python stat_creation_date.py
Thu Feb 11 13:31:07 2009 stat_creation_date.py
53
5/23/2017 12:10:36 PM

I've done this in the past for a Python script to determine the last updated files in a directory:

import glob
import os

search_dir = "/mydir/"
# remove anything from the list that is not a file (directories, symlinks)
# thanks to J.F. Sebastion for pointing out that the requirement was a list 
# of files (presumably not including directories)  
files = filter(os.path.isfile, glob.glob(search_dir + "*"))
files.sort(key=lambda x: os.path.getmtime(x))

That should do what you're looking for based on file mtime.

EDIT: Note that you can also use os.listdir() in place of glob.glob() if desired - the reason I used glob in my original code was that I was wanting to use glob to only search for files with a particular set of file extensions, which glob() was better suited to. To use listdir here's what it would look like:

import os

search_dir = "/mydir/"
os.chdir(search_dir)
files = filter(os.path.isfile, os.listdir(search_dir))
files = [os.path.join(search_dir, f) for f in files] # add path to each file
files.sort(key=lambda x: os.path.getmtime(x))

Licensed under: CC-BY-SA with attribution
Not affiliated with: Stack Overflow
Icon