My directory folderMarket has lots of files with the same name but are tagged with a date string at the end. The date tag can be formatted differently, e.g. "2018-07-25" or "25Jul18". My helper function is tasked with extracting a path list matching each found file name against filename_list. is there a better way to build a filename_list instead of brute force used below?

from datetime import datetime

strToday = "2018-07-25"
files_market = ['apples_DATE.xml', 'peaches_DATE.xml', 'cucumbers_DATE.xml', 'potatos_DATE.xml', 'tomates.DATE.csv']

def get_path_list(directory, base_filename_list, savedAsOf):

    strDate1 = savedAsOf
    filename_list1 = [n.replace('DATE', strDate1) for n in base_filename_list]

    strDate2 = datetime.strptime(savedAsOf, '%Y-%m-%d').strftime('%d%b%y')
    filename_list2 = [n.replace('DATE', strDate2) for n in base_filename_list]
    filename_list = filename_list1 + filename_list2

    path_list = []
    for file in os.listdir(directory):
        filename = os.fsdecode(file)
        if filename in filename_list:
            path_list.append(os.path.join(directory, filename))
    return path_list

print (len(get_path_list(folderMarket, files_market, strToday)))

2 Answers 2


Firstly some tips:

  • Your code uses a mixture of snake_case and camelCase, you should stick to a specific style. If you're going to write python, PEP8 states snake_case should be used as the expected style.
  • Your code lacks a if __name__ == "__main__": starting section. It's recommended to have this. As an example, if you don't have this, when you use tools like Sphinx to produce code documentation, it will actually run your code instead of just building the objects. Also, it's kind of expected :-)

As to the core questions you have, you can use pathlib's Path object to assist with the globbing of files and matching file parameters, as well as the string formatting format function to replace "placeholders" with a certain value. For instance:

from pathlib import Path

def get_path_list(directory, base_filename_list, saved_as_of):
    for template in base_filename_list:
        file_date = template.format(saved_as_of)
        print(f"looking for {file_date}")
        files = Path(directory).glob(file_date)
        for file in files:

if __name__ == "__main__":
    today = "2018-07-25"
    files_market = ['apples_{}.xml', 'peaches_{}.xml', 'cucumbers_{}.xml', 'potatoes_{}.xml', 'tomatoes.{}.csv']
    get_path_list(".", files_market, today)

The code above will get you 90% of the way there, but I'll leave that as an exercise for you to complete.

Good Luck!


Thank you for the pointers, here is all I could master. not sure how to use the format function the way you intended. I think pathlib glob only accepts str, not a list if i interpreted your answer correctly.

from pathlib import Path
from datetime import datetime

def get_path_list(directory, base_filename_list, saved_as_of):
    # list of possible save_as_of date formats
    date = datetime.strptime(saved_as_of, '%Y-%m-%d')
    formatted_dates_list = [saved_as_of, 
    #extended list with each possible date format combo
    extended_base_filename_list  = [f.replace("DATE", d) for f in base_filename_list
                                    for d in formatted_dates_list]
    globbed_list = [str(file.name) for f in formatted_dates_list
         for file in Path(directory).glob('*' + f + '.*')]
    #intersection of two lists
    return list(set(extended_base_filename_list) & set(globbed_list))

if __name__ == "__main__":
    today = "2018-07-25"
    folder = "."
    files_market = ['apples_DATE.xml', 'peaches_DATE.xml', 'cucumbers_DATE.xml', 'potatoes_DATE.xml', 'tomatoes.DATE.csv']
    test = get_path_list(folder, files_market, today)

this produces:

apples_2018-07-25.xml tomatos.25Jul18.csv cucumbers_2018-07-25.xml peaches_2018-07-25.xml potatos_2018-07-25.xml

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