Third Version

A Byte of Python 

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The second version works fine when I do many backups, but when there are lots of backups, I am finding it hard to differentiate what the backups were for! For example, I might have made some major changes to a program or presentation, then I want to associate what those changes are with the name of the zip archive. This can be easily achieved by attaching a user-supplied comment to the name of the zip archive.

Example 10.3. Backup Script - The Third Version (does not work!)

# Filename:

import os
import time

# 1. The files and directories to be backed up are specified in a list.
source = ['/home/swaroop/byte', '/home/swaroop/bin']
# If you are using Windows, use source = [r'C:\Documents', r'D:\Work'] or something like that

# 2. The backup must be stored in a main backup directory
target_dir = '/mnt/e/backup/' # Remember to change this to what you will be using

# 3. The files are backed up into a zip file.
# 4. The current day is the name of the subdirectory in the main directory
today = target_dir + time.strftime('%Y%m%d')
# The current time is the name of the zip archive
now = time.strftime('%H%M%S')

# Take a comment from the user to create the name of the zip file
comment = raw_input('Enter a comment --> ')
if len(comment) == 0: # check if a comment was entered
	target = today + os.sep + now + '.zip'
	target = today + os.sep + now + '_' +
		comment.replace(' ', '_') + '.zip'

# Create the subdirectory if it isn't already there
if not os.path.exists(today):
	os.mkdir(today) # make directory
	print 'Successfully created directory', today

# 5. We use the zip command (in Unix/Linux) to put the files in a zip archive
zip_command = "zip -qr '%s' %s" % (target, ' '.join(source))

# Run the backup
if os.system(zip_command) == 0:
	print 'Successful backup to', target
	print 'Backup FAILED'


$ python
File "", line 25
target = today + os.sep + now + '_' +
SyntaxError: invalid syntax

How This (does not) Work

This program does not work!. Python says there is a syntax error which means that the script does not satisfy the structure that Python expects to see. When we observe the error given by Python, it also tells us the place where it detected the error as well. So we start debugging our program from that line.

On careful observation, we see that the single logical line has been split into two physical lines but we have not specified that these two physical lines belong together. Basically, Python has found the addition operator (+) without any operand in that logical line and hence it doesn't know how to continue. Remember that we can specify that the logical line continues in the next physical line by the use of a backslash at the end of the physical line. So, we make this correction to our program. This is called bug fixing.