Python – Relative paths in Python


I'm building a simple helper script for work that will copy a couple of template files in our code base to the current directory. I don't, however, have the absolute path to the directory where the templates are stored. I do have a relative path from the script but when I call the script it treats that as a path relative to the current working directory. Is there a way to specify that this relative url is from the location of the script instead?

Best Solution

In the file that has the script, you want to do something like this:

import os
dirname = os.path.dirname(__file__)
filename = os.path.join(dirname, 'relative/path/to/file/you/want')

This will give you the absolute path to the file you're looking for. Note that if you're using setuptools, you should probably use its package resources API instead.

UPDATE: I'm responding to a comment here so I can paste a code sample. :-)

Am I correct in thinking that __file__ is not always available (e.g. when you run the file directly rather than importing it)?

I'm assuming you mean the __main__ script when you mention running the file directly. If so, that doesn't appear to be the case on my system (python 2.5.1 on OS X 10.5.7):
import os
print os.getcwd()
print __file__

#in the interactive interpreter
>>> import foo

#and finally, at the shell:
~ % python

However, I do know that there are some quirks with __file__ on C extensions. For example, I can do this on my Mac:

>>> import collections #note that collections is a C extension in Python 2.5
>>> collections.__file__

However, this raises an exception on my Windows machine.