from sys import argv
from os.path import exists

script, from_file, to_file = argv

print "Copying from %s to %s" % (from_file, to_file)

# we could do these two on one line too, how?
in_file = open(from_file)
indata =

print "The input file is %d bytes long" % len(indata)

print "Does the output file exist? %r" % exists(to_file)
print "Ready, hit RETURN to continue, CTRL-C to abort."

out_file = open(to_file, 'w')

print "Alright, all done."


I don't quite get why it is necessary to create a new variable called indata.why in_file alone isn't enough to use with .read()? I tried removing the indata and replace it with in_file but I get an error.can someone explain those to me?

in_file is a file handle
indata is a string containing the contents of the file

Further to comment by @vegaseat ...

you can print out ...

print( type( in_file ) ) # debugging Python object types #
print( type( indata ) )

You may like to see this Python 3 revision ...
(that uses Python exceptions to handle the 'abort' option)

# #

from os.path import exists
import os

##from sys import argv
##script, fnameIn, fnameOut = argv

fnameIn, fnameOut = 'myData.txt', 'myDataCopy.txt'

class AbortCopyException( Exception ):

    with open( fnameIn ) as fin:
        #print( type(fin) )
        inData =
        #print( type(inData) )
        print( "There are {} bytes of data in file {} to copy.".
               format( len(inData), fnameIn ) )

        if exists( fnameOut ):
            while( True ):
                ans = input( "\nPress 'Return' to continue and to "
                             "OVERWRITE \nexisting output file: '{}'"
                             "\nOR ... \nPress 'a' to abort ?  ".
                             format( fnameOut ) ) #argv[2]
                if ans in '\n':
                if ans.lower() == 'a':
                    raise AbortCopyException()
                print( "\nMust enter 'a' or press 'Enter' ..." )

            with open( fnameOut, 'w' ) as fout:
                print( "\nCopying file '{}' to file '{}' ...".
                       format( fnameIn, fnameOut ) )
                fout.write( )
            print( "Copying now done." )

            print( "There was a problem opening or reading file {}".
                   format( fnameOut ) )
except( AbortCopyException ):
    print( "Aborting copy ... " )
    print( "There was a problem opening or writing file {}".
           format( fnameIn ) )

input( "\nPress 'Enter' to continue/EXIT ... " )