goh goh - 1 month ago 14
Python Question

Python __file__ attribute absolute or relative?

I'm having trouble understanding

__file__
. From what I understand,
__file__
returns the absolute path from which the module was loaded.

I'm having problem producing this: I have a
abc.py
with one statement
print __file__
, running from
/d/projects/
python abc.py
returns
abc.py
. running from
/d/
returns
projects/abc.py
. Any reasons why?

agf agf
Answer

__file__ is the pathname of the file from which the module was loaded, if it was loaded from a file. The __file__ attribute is not present for C modules that are statically linked into the interpreter; for extension modules loaded dynamically from a shared library, it is the pathname of the shared library file.

From the mailing list thread linked by @kindall in a comment to the question:

I haven't tried to repro this particular example, but the reason is that we don't want to have to call getpwd() on every import nor do we want to have some kind of in-process variable to cache the current directory. (getpwd() is relatively slow and can sometimes fail outright, and trying to cache it has a certain risk of being wrong.)

What we do instead, is code in site.py that walks over the elements of sys.path and turns them into absolute paths. However this code runs before '' is inserted in the front of sys.path, so that the initial value of sys.path is ''.

For the rest of this, consider sys.path not to include ''.

So, if you aren't inside the part of sys.path that contains the module, you'll get an absolute path. If you are inside the part of sys.path that contains the module, you'll get a relative path.

If you load a module in the current directory, and the current directory isn't in sys.path, you'll get an absolute path.

If you load a module in the current directory, and the current directory is in sys.path, you'll get a relative path.