Topic #12 – File IO and Exceptions¶
Getting data into Python¶
You now know a lot about how to manipulate data.
But you probably want to manipulate specific data. Your data. Not toy examples.
We need to learn about File I/O.
I wont lie to you: file I/O is boring, painful, detail-oriented work.
Fortunately, Python makes it less painful than just about any other language I’ve ever used.
Read/Write to a text file¶
There are a bunch of ways to do it, but here’s one.
>>> my_file = open('aFileName.txt', 'r')
Done (many programming languages do NOT make it this easy)
This assumes the file is in the working directory
Take a wild guess what ‘r’ means
Create a text in the working directory. If using Colab, you’ll have to get one there.
Open it like the above
Try using the methods
There are a lot of methods, these are just two.
How about writing to a file?
>>> my_other_file = open('anotherFileName.txt', 'w')
Try to figure out how to
write to this file.
When done with files…
Listen up, this is a very very important thing
We must close them!
- Failing to do this can cause serious issues!!
Seriously, I’ve spent longer than I would like to admit in my life looking for bugs that were just a result of me not closing my files.
Fortunately it’s easy to close them
Loading a CSV file¶
Regular text files are cool, but CSVs are a great way to format data.
CSV stands for “Comma Separated Values”.
The file is stored in plain text (you can read it with a text editor)
Delivers what it promises.
Each line of the file is one item.
- Within the line, each value associated with that item is in a comma-delimited field.
Some people will use tabs or other things, but commas are best.
For example, suppose I have recorded height, weight and IQ for 3 subjects:
name, height, weight, IQ Subject 1, 170, 68, 100 Subject 2, 182, 80, 110 Subject 3, 155, 54, 105
The first line is a header, explaining the values in each field.
Headers are not mandatory. Some CSVs have ‘em, some don’t.
Good news: Python has a built-in library to read CSV files for you!
In fact, we’ve seen this before:
def load_asn1_data(): """ This function loads the file `starbucks.csv` and returns a LIST of latitudes and longitudes for North American Starbucks'. We'll talk about lists formally in class in a few lectures, but maybe you can start guessing how they work based on what you see here... """ import csv reader = csv.reader(open('starbucks.csv', 'r')) locations =  for r in reader: locations.append( (r,r)) return locations
How does the
Figure out how it works. Download this CSV file to your computer. NOTE: If using Colab, you’ll have to upload it.
Now write a function called
load_airports() that loads this CSV file into a list.
Play with this list a bit and get a feel for how the data is organized.
Now write a function
get_name_from_code(airport_code, airport_list) that will return a string containing the full name of the airport with the code
airport_list should be the list you loaded using
Suppose you have some tabular data in Python that you want to save back in to a CSV
>>> csv_out = csv.writer(open('yourFileName', 'w')) >>> csv_out.writerow(['First cell','Second cell', 'Third cell']) write as many rows as you need to... maybe in a loop?
CSV files are popular because they’re simple.
You can, e.g., export any Excel spreadsheet as a CSV.
If you have tabular data, this is a decent choice of format.
If you don’t have tabular data… this is an awful choice.
I’m not gonna’ go into too much detail on exceptions, but I want you to be aware of them and what they are
You’ve all seen these
>>> int('hello') ValueError: invalid literal for int() with base 10: 'hello'
>>> a = ['a', 'e', 'i', 'o', 'u'] >>> print(a) IndexError: list index out of range
There are a bajillion more
When we tried to convert the string ‘hello’ to an integer, the code raised an exception
When we tried to access the 11th thing from the list of only 5 things, the code raised an exception
Well, whoever wrote the code you’re trying to use for converting strings to ints and accessing lists had to have a way to deal with exceptional situations.
- It’s kinda’ like the programmer of the code you’re trying to use is saying:
You’re trying to ask me to convert ‘hello’ to an int? Nope… Can’t do it… But that’s not my problem, that’s your problem
So they told their code to
When this exception is raised, it’s now YOUR problem!
- Here is a super contrived example of writing our own code to
A lot of other programming languages call this
- Here is a super contrived example of writing our own code to
def do_not_give_me_five(n): if n == 5: raise ValueError('I TOLD YOU NOT TO GIVE ME 5!!!') else: print(n)
>>> do_not_give_me_five(4) 4
>>> do_not_give_me_five(5) ValueError: I TOLD YOU NOT TO GIVE ME 5!!!
You may be wondering what the point is then
Well, here is perhaps a better example
def divide(a,b): if b == 0: raise ZeroDivisionError('Nooooo!') else: return a/b
This function I just wrote will first check if
0. If it is, it will
Exceptions are not necessarily errors. They are exceptional situations.
- Let’s consider
Although you could think about any other thing you’ve tried to do before that returned an exception, like converting ‘hello’ to an int, or indexing something that does not exist.
- Let’s consider
Pretend I wrote this divide function in 1999 and now everyone today is using my super awesome function.
You come along today and call
I can’t divide 9 by 0. That’s a no-no.
What should I do about it in 1999?
Well… you’re writing a program right now trying to use this function to do something
How could I know how to handle this situation in YOUR program?
How about this… How about I write some code in my 1999 code that says “SOMETHING EXCEPTIONAL HAPPENED” that lets YOU know that something is off.
Then YOU can handle these exceptional situations however YOU want.
Call the user a moron?
So here’s the rule, let’s say I’m going to use a function that might throw an exception.
tryto run the code that may or may not
The code will run normally
exceptif the exception is raised.
def my_code(): try: function_that_can_raise_exception() except SomeError: code that will handle situation code that runs regardless
The code in the
exceptarea only runs if an exception happens
If no exception happens, then the code is skipped
It’s kinda’ like
ifstatements, but for exceptions
Let’s look at a couple of examples of people using
Jane wants us to set the result to NaN (not a number) if we try to divide by zero.
def jane_code(a,b): try: rez = divide(a,b) except ZeroDivisionError: rez = float('NaN') print(rez)
- What’s happening?
If we call
divideand nothing funny happens
rezbecomes the result
If an exception is thrown,
dividenever finishes doing its thing and we set
Then, either way, we print out
Bob just wants to have his program keep asking the user for input until it can divide the numbers
def bob_code(): while True: data = input().split() a = int(data) b = int(data) try: rez = divide(a,b) break except ZeroDivisionError: print('Bad input for divide (divided by 0), try again') print('Im outside the loop')
Tim is programming a piece of medical equipment that gives radiation therapy to people, and if the calculation goes wrong, we need the equipment to stop immediately otherwise we might give someone radiation poisoning.
def tim_code(a,b): try: rez = divide(a,b) except ZeroDivisionError: exit() # Immediately stop! print('I am going to give you radiation therapy now.')
def sally_code(a,b): try: rez = divide(a,b) except ZeroDivisionError: print('Error in calc. I will stay in the air though. ') print('Keep Flying')
There are A LOT of types of exceptions/errors out there
We can even make our own (outside the scope of this class though)
- There is even a hierarchy
Exceptional vs Error¶
I’m not gonna’ get too far into this, but long story short, there are some exceptions that are exceptional situations, and some that are just plane errors on the programmer’s part.
IndexError: list index out of rangeare probably errors you made
FileNotFoundError:are probably issues with the how the code was used (trying to open a file that does not exist), and not really an error
Why do we care about exceptions?¶
It allows programmers to pass info around and communicate through TiMe
It allows us to deal with exceptional situations effectively
It gives us a nice logical division between normal code and exceptional code