[erlang-questions] Reading a file before it has been completely written

David Mercer dmercer@REDACTED
Wed Mar 7 19:06:05 CET 2012

I'm not the one writing the file.  I'm the one reading it.  I have no
control over the writing.


Thanks for the thoughts, though.




From: Tony Rogvall [mailto:tony@REDACTED] 
Sent: Wednesday, March 07, 2012 11:40 AM
To: David Mercer
Cc: erlang-questions@REDACTED
Subject: Re: [erlang-questions] Reading a file before it has been completely



- Create and open a file with a temporary name.

-  Write the file content.

- Close the file.

- Rename the file to the name/place you want.


works ?




On 7 mar 2012, at 18:25, David Mercer wrote:

While this isn't an Erlang-specific question, the problem arises from my
using Richard Carlsson's
erl), which sends messages when a file or directory is changed.  I have
found that it is not unusual to get a message about a new file before the
file has been completely written.


I had thought that by doing a file:open(Filepath, [read]) and making sure I
got back {ok, _} rather than{error, eacces} I could avoid those cases, but
that approach has failed for me: this morning, I got back {ok, _}, but the
file was not completely written yet.


Another approach I tried was to attempt to obtain an exclusive lock (I think
it was file:open(Filepath, [read, exclusive])), but in my testing I came
across the bizarre scenario where I would copy a file into the monitored
directory, the file_monitor would send the message, but the Erlang process
that does the file-open didn't see it, so created the file (the
documentation says it creates the file if it does not exist), and then I got
a message in my window where I was copying that the file already exists, do
I want to overwrite it.


Another approach I tried was renaming the file to itself.  All my tests
indicated that that approach would work, but all my tests also indicated
that just doing the file:open(Filepath, [read]) would work, too, so I chose
it, as it seemed cleaner.  I could revert to the rename approach, but I'm
not even sure now that that will work.


I imagine others among us have encountered this issue, and rather than
reinvent the wheel, what is the favored approach to handling this issue?




David Mercer



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"Installing applications can lead to corruption over time. Applications
gradually write over each other's libraries, partial upgrades occur, user
and system errors happen, and minute changes may be unnoticeable and
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