fileinfo /

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Author: Dinu Gherman <>
Version: Version 0.3.3
Date: 2008-11-14
Copyright: GNU Public Licence v3 (GPLv3)


Fileinfo helps you in identifying files with specific values for certain attributes in order to search and sort these files and present the results in an easily readable tabular fashion.

Using fileinfo you can access this information for many files at once without opening these files individually with a dedicated application, which can be very time consuming.

In order to determine such file attributes, fileinfo comes with some pre-built plug-ins, for file formats like PDF, MP3, TTF and PY (Python source code files). These plug-ins allow you to determine e.g. the number of pages or the creator of PDF documents, the artist and title of MP3 files, the number of glyphs in TTF font files, the number of classes or docstrings in Python files, etc.

Of course, you can also access file information on an operating system level, like the size and modification date/time of files. And, you can also write your own plug-ins to extend fileinfo's capabilities.

A tool like fileinfo is different from other tools like Spotlight, since it does not use a huge global index and it presents not only a flat result list, but an overview of matching files together with the respective (possibly sorted) attribute values. And since fileinfo is written in pure Python it is not tied to a specific plattform.

Fileinfo is most useful when used on many files at once, because then you get an overview of the attribute values for the entire set of files.

This release fixes a few buglets and implements minor packaging refactorings.


  • extract file attributes
  • display attribute values in a tabular fashion
  • display output table as plain text, CSV, simple RestructuredText, HTML
  • display output table interactively (OS X Cocoa and Django, experimental)
  • sort output by one or more attribute values
  • filter files with attributes satisfying some expression
  • provide a plugin architecture
  • provide a plugin for filesystem attributes
  • provide plugins for XML and Python
  • provide plugins for Spotlight attributes and file bundles (OS X)
  • provide plugins for media formats PDF, MP3 and Quicktime (experimental)
  • install a Python package named fileinfo
  • install a Python command-line script named fileinfo
  • provide a Unittest test suite
  • install test suite inside the installed package
  • test samples include MP3, PDF, TTF and Python files


From the system command-line you use fileinfo e.g. like this:

$ python fileinfo -a npages *.pdf

Here is an example of some statistics for Python code (taken from the top-level of Docutils 0.5):

$ cd docutils-0.5/build/lib/docutils
$ fileinfo -a lc:nclasses:ndefs:ndocstrs *.py
  lc  nclasses  ndefs  ndocstrs  path
 205         5      2         3
 616         1     24        14
  97         0      3         4
 760         5     34        18
 413         9     22        14
1802       130    124        39
1491        19     91        60
 137         0      0         1
 594         9     32        25
6115       178    332       178  total

Here is another example for Mac OS X Widgets:

$ cd /Library/Widgets
$ fileinfo --format rest-simple -a bundlename:bundleversion *.wdgt
=================  =============  ======================
bundlename         bundleversion  path
=================  =============  ======================
Address Book       1.1.5          Address Book.wdgt
Calculator         1.2            Calculator.wdgt
Dictionary         2.0.1          Dictionary.wdgt
Flight Tracker     1.3            Flight Tracker.wdgt
Movies             0.4            Movies.wdgt
Stickies           2.0            Stickies.wdgt
Stocks             1.3            Stocks.wdgt
Tile Game          1.0.2          Tile Game.wdgt
Unit Converter     2.2            Unit Converter.wdgt
Weather            1.1            Weather.wdgt
WebClip            1.0            Web Clip.wdgt
World Clock        2.0            World Clock.wdgt
Calendar           3.1            iCal.wdgt
=================  =============  ======================


After downloading the file fileinfo-0.3.3.tar.gz in your download directory, change into this directory and run the following command to unpack fileinfo:

$ tar xfz fileinfo-0.3.3.tar.gz

Then change into the newly created directory fileinfo and install fileinfo by running the following command:

$ python install

This will install a Python package folder named fileinfo in the site-packages subfolder of your Python interpreter and a script tool named fileinfo in your bin directory, usually in /usr/local/bin.


Some of fileinfo's plug-ins use additional Python packages that you might have to install if you want to use the functionality provided by these plugins. The current version of fileinfo does not yet provide a consistent and clean mechanism for reporting such missing packages by third parties. But this is on the todo list.

Among these dependencies are Django, WxPython, PyObjC, psi and ReportLab.


Fileinfo comes with a built-in Unittest test suite which can be run after installation with the command-line options -t or --test like this:

$  fileinfo --test
Ran 9 tests in 0.030s


Bug reports

Please report bugs and patches to Dinu Gherman <>. Don't forget to include information about the operating system and Python versions being used.