Sunday, March 10, 2024

Resolving "NameError: identify '__file__' will not be outlined" in Python

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Python, like every other programming language, has its personal set of quirks and nuances. One such quirk that always stumps newbie builders is the “NameError: identify ‘__file__’ will not be outlined” error. What precisely is __file__? Why would it not be outlined in some contexts however not others?

This Byt will assist you to perceive this error, why it happens, and the way to repair it.

What does this error imply?

The __file__ attribute in Python is a built-in attribute that’s routinely set to the trail of the module file from which the script is loaded. This attribute is helpful if you need to know the placement of the present script, particularly when coping with relative file paths. Nonetheless, if you attempt to entry __file__ within the Python interactive shell or Jupyter pocket book, chances are you’ll encounter the “NameError: identify ‘__file__’ will not be outlined” error. It’s because __file__ is undefined in these environments.

NameError: identify '__file__' will not be outlined

Accessing file in an Interactive Shell

The Python interactive shell is a good instrument for fast and soiled testing of code snippets. Nonetheless, it doesn’t assist the __file__ attribute, as it isn’t related to any file. In the event you attempt to entry __file__ in an interactive shell, you’re going to get a NameError as proven above.

Word: If it is advisable get the listing of the present script in an interactive shell, you should use the os module’s getcwd perform as a substitute.

Storing Code in Python Modules

One approach to get across the NameError when making an attempt to entry __file__ is by storing your code in a Python module as a substitute of working it within the interactive shell. A Python module is solely a file containing Python definitions and statements. The filename is the module identify with the suffix .py added. Whenever you import a module, Python runs the code within the module and makes it out there so that you can use.


Now, for those who import this module from one other script or from the interactive shell, __file__ might be outlined:

import mymodule

Utilizing the examine Module

One other approach to get the file path in an interactive shell is by utilizing the examine module. The examine module offers a number of features to assist get details about reside objects like modules, lessons, strategies, features, and many others. You should use the getfile perform to get the file through which an object is outlined.

import examine

It will print the file path of the present script, even when run from an interactive shell. Nonetheless, remember the fact that this can return <stdin> in an interactive shell because the script is definitely learn from normal enter.

Getting the Present Working Listing with os.getcwd()

Whenever you’re coping with file paths in Python, it is usually helpful to know the present working listing. That is the listing from the place your script is being run. Python’s os module offers a technique known as getcwd() that returns the present working listing as a string.

This is how you should use it:

import os


Operating this code will output one thing like:

$ python3

This means that the script is being run from the /Customers/username/Paperwork/my_project listing.

Get the Module Identify with sys.argv

The sys module in Python offers entry to some variables used or maintained by the Python interpreter. One in every of these is sys.argv, which is an inventory in Python, which incorporates the command-line arguments handed to the script. The primary merchandise on this checklist, sys.argv[0], is all the time the script identify itself.

Let’s examine it in motion:

import sys


In the event you run this script as python3, you will see:

$ python3

As you possibly can see, sys.argv[0] offers us the identify of the script that’s at present being executed.

Definitely! This is a revised model of the part that focuses on accessing the __file__ attribute on imported modules within the context of the article title:

Accessing the __file__ Attribute on Imported Modules

Whenever you import a module, not solely are the features, lessons, and variables loaded into reminiscence, however sure particular attributes are additionally out there. One such attribute is __file__, which might present information on the placement of the module’s supply file.

This is how one can entry it in a typical use-case. Suppose you could have a module named my_module situated at /path/to/

def hello_world():
    print("Whats up, world!")

You may import this module after which entry its __file__ attribute to see the trail the place the module is saved:

import my_module


Whenever you run this script, you will see:

$ python3

As you possibly can see, we have been capable of entry the __file__ attribute of one other module, exterior of the script that’s at present being run.


On this Byte, we have explored a number of methods to resolve the
“NameError: identify ‘__file__’ will not be outlined” error in Python. We have realized the way to get hold of the present working listing utilizing os.getcwd(), decide the module identify utilizing sys.argv, and entry attributes on imported modules.

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