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14.6. plistlib — Generate and parse Mac OS X .plist files — Python v2.6.2 documentation

14.6. plistlib — Generate and parse Mac OS X .plist files¶

Changed in version 2.6: This module was previously only available in the Mac-specific library, it is now available for all platforms.

This module provides an interface for reading and writing the “property list” XML files used mainly by Mac OS X.

The property list (.plist) file format is a simple XML pickle supporting basic object types, like dictionaries, lists, numbers and strings. Usually the top level object is a dictionary.

Values can be strings, integers, floats, booleans, tuples, lists, dictionaries (but only with string keys), Data or datetime.datetime objects. String values (including dictionary keys) may be unicode strings – they will be written out as UTF-8.

The <data> plist type is supported through the Data class. This is a thin wrapper around a Python string. Use Data if your strings contain control characters.

See also

PList manual page <http://developer.apple.com/documentation/Darwin/Reference/ManPages/man5/plist.5.html>
Apple’s documentation of the file format.

This module defines the following functions:


Read a plist file. pathOrFile may either be a file name or a (readable) file object. Return the unpacked root object (which usually is a dictionary).

The XML data is parsed using the Expat parser from xml.parsers.expat – see its documentation for possible exceptions on ill-formed XML. Unknown elements will simply be ignored by the plist parser.

plistlib.writePlist(rootObject, pathOrFile)¶

Write rootObject to a plist file. pathOrFile may either be a file name or a (writable) file object.

A TypeError will be raised if the object is of an unsupported type or a container that contains objects of unsupported types.

Read a plist from a string. Return the root object.
Return rootObject as a plist-formatted string.
plistlib.readPlistFromResource(path[, restype='plst'[, resid=0]])¶

Read a plist from the resource with type restype from the resource fork of path. Availability: Mac OS X.


In Python 3.x, this function has been removed.

plistlib.writePlistToResource(rootObject, path[, restype='plst'[, resid=0]])¶

Write rootObject as a resource with type restype to the resource fork of path. Availability: Mac OS X.


In Python 3.x, this function has been removed.

The following class is available:

class plistlib.Data(data)¶

Return a “data” wrapper object around the string data. This is used in functions converting from/to plists to represent the <data> type available in plists.

It has one attribute, data, that can be used to retrieve the Python string stored in it.

14.6.1. Examples¶

Generating a plist:

pl = dict(
    aList=["A", "B", 12, 32.1, [1, 2, 3]],
    aFloat = 0.1,
    anInt = 728,
        anotherString="<hello & hi there!>",
        aUnicodeValue=u'M\xe4ssig, Ma\xdf',
    someData = Data("<binary gunk>"),
    someMoreData = Data("<lots of binary gunk>" * 10),
    aDate = datetime.datetime.fromtimestamp(time.mktime(time.gmtime())),
# unicode keys are possible, but a little awkward to use:
pl[u'\xc5benraa'] = "That was a unicode key."
writePlist(pl, fileName)

Parsing a plist:

pl = readPlist(pathOrFile)
print pl["aKey"]
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