# Reading select lines from a text file

I just created a Python Gist for reading select lines from a text file into memory. I came up with this Gist when I needed to parse the core log from our microscope control software (Micro-Manager). One of our devices was continously sending its statistics to the computer, which would then be recorded to the log. I wanted to find only lines that contained the statistics by searching for the STATS identifier, which was unique to these lines.

The problem was a bit more difficult than reading just the lines containing this string because I wanted the statistics only for times when the software was acquiring a time series of images. Luckily, the core log also contains lines with unique strings indicating when a time series was initiated and stopped. All lines in the log are time-stamped.

Below is the Gist I used to solve this problem. The lines that will be retained in memory will contain the strings in the list lineFilters. I then define a function named stringIsIn that will return a list of bool indicating whether each string is present in the line.

At the bottom of the Gist, I use a list comprehension to loop over each line in the file. The line is appended to a growing list called outputLines if the line contains any of the strings I defined. Note that it's not necessary to use a separate definition for stringIsIn; the list comprehension over lineFilters could have been placed inline with the primary list comprension over lines in the file. I do think it is more readable the way it is presented below, however.

I welcome any comments or suggestions, especially on the Gist website where others may be more likely to find it.

filename    = 'myFile.txt'
outputLines = []

# Keep all lines containing ANY of the following list of strings.
lineFilters = ['line 1',
'line 2',
'line 3']
stringIsIn  = lambda line: [filter in line for filter in lineFilters]

# Read only lines containing one of the strings into memory.
with open(filename, 'r') as file:
[outputLines.append(line) for line in file if any(stringIsIn(line))]