Creating and using Treants

datreant is not an analysis library. Its scope is limited to the boring but tedious task of data management and storage. It is intended to bring value to analysis results by making them easily accessible now and later.

The basic functionality of datreant is condensed into one object: the Treant. Named after the talking trees of D&D lore, Treants are persistent objects that live as directory trees in the filesystem and store their state information to disk on the fly. The file locking needed for each transaction is handled automatically, so more than one python process can be working with any number of instances of the same Treant at the same time.


File locking is performed with POSIX advisory locks. These are not guaranteed to work perfectly on all platforms and file systems, so use caution when changing the stored attributes of a Treant in more than one process. Also, though advisory locks are mostly process safe, they are definitely not thread safe. Don’t use multithreading and try to modify Treant elements at the same time.

Persistence as a feature

Treants store their data as directory structures in the file system. Generating a new Treant, for example, with the following

>>> # python session 1
>>> import datreant as dtr
>>> s = dtr.Treant('sprout')

creates a directory called sprout in the current working directory. It contains a single directory at the moment

> # shell
> ls -a sprout
.  ..  .datreant

This .datreant directory is what makes sprout a Treant. On its own it serves as a marker, but as we’ll see later it can also contain metadata elements distinguishing this Treant from others.

Treants are persistent. In fact, we can open a separate python session (go ahead!) and use this Treant immediately there

>>> # python session 2
>>> import datreant as dtr
>>> s = dtr.Treant('sprout')

Making a modification to the Treant in one session, perhaps by adding a tag, will be reflected in the Treant in the other session

>>> # python session 1
>>> s.tags.add('elm')

>>> # python session 2
>>> s.tags

This is because both objects pull their identifying information from the same place on disk; they store almost nothing in memory.


File handles are kept alive only as long as needed to serialize or deserialize Treant metadata from the filesystem.

API Reference: Treant

See the Treant API reference for more details.