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Programming Python, 3rd Edition by Mark Lutz

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Step 2: Storing Records Persistently

So far, we've settled on a dictionary-based representation for our database of records, and we've reviewed some Python data structure concepts along the way. As mentioned, though, the objects we've seen so far are temporary—they live in memory and they go away as soon as we exit Python or the Python program that created them. To make our people persistent, they need to be stored in a file of some sort.

Using Formatted Files

One way to keep our data around between program runs is to write all the data out to a simple text file, in a formatted way. Provided the saving and loading tools agree on the format selected, we're free to use any custom scheme we like.

Test data script

So that we don't have to keep working interactively, let's first write a script that initializes the data we are going to store (if you've done any Python work in the past, you know that the interactive prompt tends to become tedious once you leave the realm of simple one-liners). Example 2-1 creates the sort of records and database dictionary we've been working with so far, but because it is a module, we can import it repeatedly without having to retype the code each time. In a sense, this module is a database itself, but its program code format doesn't support automatic or end-user updates as is.

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