13.1.7 Example

For the simplest code, use the dump() and load() functions. Note that a self-referencing list is pickled and restored correctly.

import pickle

data1 = {'a': [1, 2.0, 3, 4+6j],
         'b': ('string', u'Unicode string'),
         'c': None}

selfref_list = [1, 2, 3]

output = open('data.pkl', 'wb')

# Pickle dictionary using protocol 0.
pickle.dump(data1, output)

# Pickle the list using the highest protocol available.
pickle.dump(selfref_list, output, -1)


The following example reads the resulting pickled data. When reading a pickle-containing file, you should open the file in binary mode because you can't be sure if the ASCII or binary format was used.

import pprint, pickle

pkl_file = open('data.pkl', 'rb')

data1 = pickle.load(pkl_file)

data2 = pickle.load(pkl_file)


Here's a larger example that shows how to modify pickling behavior for a class. The TextReader class opens a text file, and returns the line number and line contents each time its readline() method is called. If a TextReader instance is pickled, all attributes except the file object member are saved. When the instance is unpickled, the file is reopened, and reading resumes from the last location. The __setstate__() and __getstate__() methods are used to implement this behavior.

class TextReader:
    """Print and number lines in a text file."""
    def __init__(self, file):
        self.file = file
        self.fh = open(file)
        self.lineno = 0

    def readline(self):
        self.lineno = self.lineno + 1
        line = self.fh.readline()
        if not line:
            return None
        if line.endswith("\n"):
            line = line[:-1]
        return "%d: %s" % (self.lineno, line)

    def __getstate__(self):
        odict = self.__dict__.copy() # copy the dict since we change it
        del odict['fh']              # remove filehandle entry
        return odict

    def __setstate__(self,dict):
        fh = open(dict['file'])      # reopen file
        count = dict['lineno']       # read from file...
        while count:                 # until line count is restored
            count = count - 1
        self.__dict__.update(dict)   # update attributes
        self.fh = fh                 # save the file object

A sample usage might be something like this:

>>> import TextReader
>>> obj = TextReader.TextReader("TextReader.py")
>>> obj.readline()
'1: #!/usr/local/bin/python'
>>> # (more invocations of obj.readline() here)
... obj.readline()
'7: class TextReader:'
>>> import pickle
>>> pickle.dump(obj,open('save.p','w'))

If you want to see that pickle works across Python processes, start another Python session, before continuing. What follows can happen from either the same process or a new process.

>>> import pickle
>>> reader = pickle.load(open('save.p'))
>>> reader.readline()
'8:     "Print and number lines in a text file."'

See Also:

Module copy_reg:
Pickle interface constructor registration for extension types.

Module shelve:
Indexed databases of objects; uses pickle.

Module copy:
Shallow and deep object copying.

Module marshal:
High-performance serialization of built-in types.

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