fsmanage documentation

Documentation for fsmanage, a Python library containing filesystem management tools.

This package contains tools for writing filesystem management interfaces for arbitrary filesystem implementations. It should be flexible enough to support any sort of interface, but is aimed at long-running programs (for example, an application, as opposed to a one-shot command like cp or mv).

The top-level package contains all core objects - everything from item, history, operation, opexec, action and actionexec.


Item instances are just for referring to files. They don’t provide much information (path and vague type, eg. file/directory), and don’t allow querying for more information or changing the files they refer to.

Whenever a path is used instead of an item, it is a sequence of string path components (like Item.path).


A History represents a series of changes to a system, implemented as HistoryEvent instances. When an event is added, it is ‘executed’ to change the state of the system tracked by the history, and, if successful, is stored in the history’s event list.


  • undo/redo.
  • expiry of old events.
  • asynchronous event execution via any method.
  • waiting for each event to finish before executing the next one.


An Operation represents a change to the filesystem, usually to a single item. For example: move, copy, delete.

The actual filesystem is implemented by supporting the execution of operations in an OperationExecutor subclass. This might, for example, be an in-memory filesystem, the standard system filesystem, or a filesystem within an archive file. An operation executor allows handling confirmations (such as overwriting files) through callbacks.

Managing the execution of many operations is done with a subclass of OperationManager, which uses a History to do so. This might, for example, run operations in series, in multiple threads, or on other computers.


An Action represents a way a user might want to interact with the filesystem, and might represent one or more operations, or a query that doesn’t cause any changes, or might not even touch the filesystem. For example: cut, paste, open, undo. Executing an action requires an OperationManager.

Actions operate on targets, each type of which is represented by an ActionTarget - for example, some subset of filesystem items, or the current working directory. When an action’s targets do not match the current system, the action cannot be run.

To group the actions you want to provide together and run them more easily, you can use an ActionManager. This will not support any actions until the targets required by the actions are supported - for example, action_manager_support_selection allows using actions that operate on filesystem items.

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