Armin Ronacher Armin Ronacher - 6 months ago 277
Python Question

Get last n lines of a file with Python, similar to tail

I'm writing a log file viewer for a web application and for that I want to paginate through the lines of the log file. The items in the file are line based with the newest item on the bottom.

So I need a

tail()
method that can read
n
lines from the bottom and supports an offset. What I came up with looks like this:

def tail(f, n, offset=0):
"""Reads a n lines from f with an offset of offset lines."""
avg_line_length = 74
to_read = n + offset
while 1:
try:
f.seek(-(avg_line_length * to_read), 2)
except IOError:
# woops. apparently file is smaller than what we want
# to step back, go to the beginning instead
f.seek(0)
pos = f.tell()
lines = f.read().splitlines()
if len(lines) >= to_read or pos == 0:
return lines[-to_read:offset and -offset or None]
avg_line_length *= 1.3


Is this a reasonable approach? What is the recommended way to tail log files with offsets?

Answer

The code I ended up using. I think this is the best so far:

def tail(f, n, offset=None):
    """Reads a n lines from f with an offset of offset lines.  The return
    value is a tuple in the form ``(lines, has_more)`` where `has_more` is
    an indicator that is `True` if there are more lines in the file.
    """
    avg_line_length = 74
    to_read = n + (offset or 0)

    while 1:
        try:
            f.seek(-(avg_line_length * to_read), 2)
        except IOError:
            # woops.  apparently file is smaller than what we want
            # to step back, go to the beginning instead
            f.seek(0)
        pos = f.tell()
        lines = f.read().splitlines()
        if len(lines) >= to_read or pos == 0:
            return lines[-to_read:offset and -offset or None], \
                   len(lines) > to_read or pos > 0
        avg_line_length *= 1.3
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