This code works, but I feel bad about it. Did I achieve Python Zen or create a terrible monster? Note: it doesn't have to be super-fast or work on super-huge directory trees.

import glob
from typing import List

# Provide pathname without a trailing /
def find_files_with_extension(pathname: str, extension: str) -> List[str]:
    return list({item for sublist in [glob.iglob(s + "**." + extension) for s in glob.iglob(pathname + "/**/", recursive=True)] for item in sublist})

2 Answers 2


A few suggestions:

  1. This doesn't need to be a one line function. Writing it on one line makes it much harder to understand and makes finding mistakes more difficult.
  2. Use os.path.join to assemble your full pathname + wildcard + extension. That way, you don't need to worry about whether or not your pathname is given with or without a trailing /
  3. If you're going to worry about a trailing / in your pathname, you should be equally worried about a preceding . in your extension.
  4. glob.glob already returns a list with the matching files. I don't see any need for the complicated, nested list comprehensions you're using. Your function should essentially be a wrapper for calling glob.glob that simply makes combining the pathname + extension a little easier for the user.

That being said, here's how I might re-write this function:

import glob
import os

from typing import List

def find_files_with_extension(path_name: str, extension: str) -> List[str]:
    extension_wildcard = "*"

    if extension[0] != ".": # suggestion #3
        extension_wildcard += "."
    extension_wildcard += extension

    path_name_wildcard = os.path.join(path_name, "**", extension_wildcard) # suggestion #2

    return glob.glob(path_name_wildcard, recursive=True)
  • \$\begingroup\$ The hardest thing about this is you didn't actually test your code! Python uses # for comments not //. But it's better than mine. +1 \$\endgroup\$
    – OrgnlDave
    Oct 8, 2020 at 13:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Apologies, I wrote and tested it without comments, then added them in before I posted! \$\endgroup\$ Oct 8, 2020 at 18:46

Here's a solution which should work fine, using the new, convenient pathlib:

import pathlib

def find_files_with_extension(path_name, extension):
    return list(pathlib.Path(path_name).rglob("*." + extension))
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for this! I wonder how many more years it will take for Python teachers to teach pathlib instead of os.path. However, you should not return a list. rglob already returns an iterable. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 13, 2020 at 0:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Zababa I don't mind if teachers are slow to adapt, I just wish more people here (and on SO) made use of it! \$\endgroup\$
    – AMC
    Oct 13, 2020 at 0:12

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