Krzysztof Żuraw blog

Python & WebDAV- part two

September 18, 2016

In the last post, I set up owncloud with WebDAV server. Now it’s time to use it.

Python WebDAV client - easywebdav

I was searching for good python library to work with WebDAV for a long time. I finally found it- easywebdav. It works nicely but the problem is that doesn’t have support for python 3. Let’s jump quickly to my simple project for cli tool- webdav editor.

WebDAV editor

I decided to create cli tool to work with WebDAV server- webdav editor. Right now it supports only basic commands like login, listing the content of directories, uploading and downloading files.

I started from creating file

from urlparse import urlparse
import easywebdav

class Client(object):

    def login(self, *args):
        argparse_namespace = args[0]
        url_components = urlparse(argparse_namespace.server)
        host, port = url_components.netloc.split(':')
        webdav_client = easywebdav.connect(
        pickle.dump(webdav_client, open('webdav_login', 'wb'))

    def list_content(self, *args):
        argparse_namespace = args[0]
        print [ for i in]

    def upload_file(self, *args):
        argparse_namespace = args[0]
            argparse_namespace.from_path, argparse_namespace.to_path

    def download_file(self, *args):
        argparse_namespace = args[0]
            argparse_namespace.from_path, argparse_namespace.to_path

In class Client, I write simple functions that are wrappers around easywebdav API. In login I parse provided URL in form like localhost:8888/owncloud/remote.php/webdav to get host, port and path for easywebdav.connect to establish a proper connection.

Another method that is worth mentioning is list_content where I retrieve names of files under a directory on WebDAV server. In every method I provide *args argument and argparse_namespace which leads to another component of application- module

import argparse

from webdav_utility import Client

client = Client()

parser = argparse.ArgumentParser(description='Simple command line utility for WebDAV')
subparsers = parser.add_subparsers(help='Commands')

login_parser = subparsers.add_parser('login', help='Authenticate with WebDAV')
login_parser.add_argument('-s', '--server', required=True)
login_parser.add_argument('-u', '--user', required=True)
login_parser.add_argument('-p', '--password', required=True)

ls_parser = subparsers.add_parser('ls', help='List content of directory under WebDAV')
ls_parser.add_argument('-p', '--path', required=True)

upload_parser = subparsers.add_parser('upload', help='Upload files to WebDAV')
upload_parser.add_argument('-f', '--from', metavar='PATH')
upload_parser.add_argument('-t', '--to', metavar='PATH')

download_parser = subparsers.add_parser('download', help='Download files from WebDAV')
download_parser.add_argument('-f', '--from', metavar='PATH')
download_parser.add_argument('-t', '--to', metavar='PATH')

if __name__ == '__main__':
    args = parser.parse_args()

There I use argparse. I create the main parser with four additionals subparsers for login, ls, upload and download. Thanks to that I have different namespace for every one of previously mentioned subparsers.

Problem is that this solution is not generic enough because after running my command with login parameter I can get: Namespace(server='localhost:8888', user='admin', password='admin') and running the same command but with ls I will receive: Namespace(path='path_to_file'). To handle that I used set_defaults for every subparser. I tell argparse to invoke function specified by func keyword (which is different for every command). Thanks to that I only need to call this code once:

if __name__ == '__main__':
    args = parser.parse_args()

That’s the reason I introduce argparse_namespaces in Client.

OK, tool right now works nicely, but there is no place to store information if I am logged or not. So calling python login -s localhost -u admin -p admin works but python ls -p / not. To overcome that I came up with an idea to pickle webdav_client like this:

class Client(object):

  def login(self, *args):
    # login user etc
    pickle.dump(webdav_client, open('webdav_login', 'wb'))

  def list_content(self, *args):
    webdav_client = pickle.load(open('webdav_login', 'rb'))
    # rest of the code

Then I can easily run:

$ python login --server --user admin --password admin
$ python ls --path '/'
['/owncloud/remote.php/webdav/', '/owncloud/remote.php/webdav/Documents/', '/owncloud/remote.php/webdav/Photos/', '/owncloud/remote.php/webdav/ownCloud%20Manual.pdf']


In this series, I setup an owncloud server and write simple tool just to show capabilities of WebDAV. I believe that some work, especially for webdav editor cli can still be done: the better way to handle user auth than pickle, separate Client class from argparse dependencies. If you have additional comments or thoughts please write a comment! Thank you for reading.

Special thanks to Kasia for being editor for this post. Thank you.

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Krzysztof Żuraw

Written by Krzysztof Żuraw who lives and works in Wrocław. You can find more on about page and subscribe to rss feed.