pietro abate pietro abate - 2 months ago 10
Python Question

pipe large amount of data to stdin while using subprocess.Popen

I'm kind of struggling to understand what is the python way of solving this simple problem.

My problem is quite simple. If you use the follwing code it will hang. This is well documented in the subprocess module doc.

import subprocess

proc = subprocess.Popen(['cat','-'],
stdin=subprocess.PIPE,
stdout=subprocess.PIPE,
)
for i in range(100000):
proc.stdin.write('%d\n' % i)
output = proc.communicate()[0]
print output


Searching for a solution (there is a very insightful thread, but I've lost it now) I found this solution (among others) that uses an explicit fork:

import os
import sys
from subprocess import Popen, PIPE

def produce(to_sed):
for i in range(100000):
to_sed.write("%d\n" % i)
to_sed.flush()
#this would happen implicitly, anyway, but is here for the example
to_sed.close()

def consume(from_sed):
while 1:
res = from_sed.readline()
if not res:
sys.exit(0)
#sys.exit(proc.poll())
print 'received: ', [res]

def main():
proc = Popen(['cat','-'],stdin=PIPE,stdout=PIPE)
to_sed = proc.stdin
from_sed = proc.stdout

pid = os.fork()
if pid == 0 :
from_sed.close()
produce(to_sed)
return
else :
to_sed.close()
consume(from_sed)

if __name__ == '__main__':
main()


While this solution is conceptually very easy to understand, it uses one more process and stuck as too low level compared to the subprocess module (that is there just to hide this kind of things...).

I'm wondering: is there a simple and clean solution using the subprocess module that won't hung or to implement this patter I have to do a step back and implement an old-style select loop or an explicit fork?

Thanks

Jed Jed
Answer

If you want a pure Python solution, you need to put either the reader or the writer in a separate thread. The threading package is a lightweight way to do this, with convenient access to common objects and no messy forking.

import subprocess
import threading
import sys

proc = subprocess.Popen(['cat','-'],
                        stdin=subprocess.PIPE,
                        stdout=subprocess.PIPE,
                        )
def writer():
    for i in range(100000):
        proc.stdin.write('%d\n' % i)
    proc.stdin.close()
thread = threading.Thread(target=writer)
thread.start()
for line in proc.stdout:
    sys.stdout.write(line)
thread.join()
proc.wait()

It might be neat to see the subprocess module modernized to support streams and coroutines, which would allow pipelines that mix Python pieces and shell pieces to be constructed more elegantly.

Comments