# Simple backup script in Python

Since rsync lacks compression and I'm not a big fan of rdiff, I thought I'd try my own little backup script. Since I'm very inexperienced with file management in Python, I'm sure there is lot of room for improvement.

The script creates the entire folder structure within the backup folder and then creates syncs recursively for all files within the source folders. Every file above a certain threshold gets gziped on the way.

A possible command would be:

python3 sync.py -target MY_BACKUPFOLDER -source IMPORTANT_1 IMPORTANT_2

Please tell me what you think of the source:

""" Simple backup script which just creates the root structure in an other
folder and syncs everything which recursevely lies within one of the source
folders. For files bigger than a threshold they are first gziped."""

import argparse
import gzip
import os
import shutil
import sys

def parse_input():
parser = argparse.ArgumentParser()
help='Target Backup folder')
help='Gzip threshold in bytes', default=[100000])

# no input means show me the help
if len(sys.argv) == 1:
parser.print_help()
sys.exit()

return parser.parse_args()

""" If newer it returns size, otherwise it returns False """

src_stat = os.stat(source)
try:
target_ts = os.stat(target).st_mtime
except FileNotFoundError:
try:
target_ts = os.stat(target + '.gz').st_mtime
except FileNotFoundError:
target_ts = 0

# The time difference of one second is necessary since subsecond accuracy
# of os.st_mtime is striped by copy2
return src_stat.st_size if (src_stat.st_mtime - target_ts > 1) else False

def sync_file(source, target, compress):

if size:
transfer_file(source, target, size > compress)

def transfer_file(source, target, compress):
""" Either copy or compress and copies the file """

try:
if compress:
with gzip.open(target + '.gz', 'wb') as target_fid:
with open(source, 'rb') as source_fid:
target_fid.writelines(source_fid)
print('Compress {}'.format(source))
else:
shutil.copy2(source, target)
print('Copy {}'.format(source))
except FileNotFoundError:
os.makedirs(os.path.dirname(target))
transfer_file(source, target, compress)

def sync_root(root, arg):
target = arg.target[0]
compress = arg.compress[0]

for path, _, files in os.walk(root):
for source in files:
source = path + '/' + source
sync_file(source, target + source, compress)

if __name__ == '__main__':
arg = parse_input()
print('### Start copy ####')
for root in arg.source:
sync_root(root, arg)
print('### Done ###')

• For the record (even though it is a year later), rsync does support compression with the -z flag. – Graipher Dec 5 '16 at 11:32

This program is really a pleasure to read. It accomplishes the desired outcome neatly and succinctly. The only thing I could think of that might be an improvement is threading. Other than that this program looks fantastic.

I can see where making this program threaded can be a great benefit when dealing with smaller files. I'm not sure, but I fear with larger files or smaller buffering, having this program run copy routines in parallel might bring the system to a halt. I wrote up a minor modification to your excellent source code to illustrate my idea:

""" Simple backup script which just creates the root structure in an other
folder and syncs everything which recursevely lies within one of the source
folders. For files bigger than a threshold they are first gziped."""

import argparse
import gzip
import os
import shutil
import sys

def parse_input():
parser = argparse.ArgumentParser()
help='Target Backup folder')
help='Gzip threshold in bytes', default=[100000])

# no input means show me the help
if len(sys.argv) == 1:
parser.print_help()
sys.exit()

return parser.parse_args()

""" If newer it returns size, otherwise it returns False """

src_stat = os.stat(source)
try:
target_ts = os.stat(target).st_mtime
except FileNotFoundError:
try:
target_ts = os.stat(target + '.gz').st_mtime
except FileNotFoundError:
target_ts = 0

# The time difference of one second is necessary since subsecond accuracy
# of os.st_mtime is striped by copy2
return src_stat.st_size if (src_stat.st_mtime - target_ts > 1) else False

if size:
args=(source, target, size > compress))

def sync_file(source, target, compress):

if size:
transfer_file(source, target, size > compress)

def transfer_file(source, target, compress):
""" Either copy or compress and copies the file """

try:
if compress:
with gzip.open(target + '.gz', 'wb') as target_fid:
with open(source, 'rb') as source_fid:
target_fid.writelines(source_fid)
print('Compress {}'.format(source))
else:
shutil.copy2(source, target)
print('Copy {}'.format(source))
except FileNotFoundError:
os.makedirs(os.path.dirname(target))
transfer_file(source, target, compress)

def sync_root(root, arg):
target = arg.target[0]
compress = arg.compress[0]

for path, _, files in os.walk(root):
for source in files:
source = path + '/' + source
target + source, compress))
#            sync_file(source, target + source, compress)

if __name__ == '__main__':
arg = parse_input()
print('### Start copy ####')
for root in arg.source:
sync_root(root, arg)
print('### Done ###')

• Thanks for the kind words. Your are absolutely right about threading. Waiting for IO operations could slow down the entire process for small files. – magu_ Apr 1 '16 at 15:23
• @magu_, could you please share some links or refer the direction where to dig to read about IO operations making the entire process slow and how threading helps? – Turkhan Badalov Jun 4 '18 at 17:55

If the file size is 0, it ignores that file (when it returns 0 from the size function and uses that to determine if the file is newer). I noticed this when testing it and I created an empty file and saw it was not mirrored. I would think the right behavior should be that it should copy the empty file.

Also, it does not mirror deletions, if something is deleted in the source folder, it will not be deleted in the 'synced' folder