Pas­si­ve wai­ting is a way of suspen­ding pro­grams execu­ti­on without con­su­ming any CPU (in con­trast with acti­ve wai­ting whe­re a pro­gram is busy doing nothing). In Python, you can use cer­ta­in clas­ses from the threa­ding modu­le (such as Con­di­ti­on and Event). Let’s take for exam­ple the Event class. It is good for wai­ting for an event. But what if you need to wait for many events? You might say „Why not to make a list of mul­tiple Event objects and wait for all of them?” Well… that is not going to work:

import threading, collections

events=[threading.Event() for _ in range(10)]  # make 10 events
collections.deque((e.clear() for e in events), 0)  # clear all event flags
activated={e for e in events if e.wait(timeout)}  # wait for events, get a set of activated ones

The­re are two pro­blems with this kind of code:
  • If you use any time­out value, you degra­de it to acti­ve wait (and you will also wait until the last event in the list gets acti­va­ted or times out).
  • If you don’t use a time­out value, the code gets stuck on the first event (and then the second, thi­rd, etc.).

If you used to pro­gram in C/C++, you might want to use a select functi­on. Select allows you to wait for seve­ral I/O ope­rati­ons and returns when any of them ends. The good news is the­re is such a functi­on in Python 3. Con­cre­te­ly, it is the select method of the selectors.BaseSelector class. The bad news is you can wait only on file objects.

I don’t know how about you but I’d like to wait on other things, such as MULTIPLE EVENT OBJECTS! But you can’t, because tho­se are not file objects. Now you might be saying

Do you wish the­re was a way to wait on tho­se Event objects? The­re is :-). Here’s a sli­ght­ly modi­fied code, so it works in Python 3 (ori­gi­nal code is here):

class WaitableEvent:
    Provides an abstract object that can be used to resume select loops with
    indefinite waits from another thread or process. This mimics the standard
    threading.Event interface.

    def __init__(self):
        self._read_fd, self._write_fd = os.pipe()

    def wait(self, timeout=None):
        rfds, wfds, efds =[self._read_fd], [], [], timeout)
        return self._read_fd in rfds

    def isSet(self):
        return self.wait(0)

    def clear(self):
        if self.isSet():
  , 1)

    def set(self):
        if not self.isSet():
            os.write(self._write_fd, b'1')

    def fileno(self):
        Return the FD number of the read side of the pipe, allows this object to
        be used with
        return self._read_fd

    def __del__(self):

To wait for mul­tiple event objects using the select method is sim­ple as this:
import selectors

sel = selectors.DefaultSelector()  # create selector
event1 = WaitableEvent()  # create event 1
event2 = WaitableEvent()  # create event 2
sel.register(event1, selectors.EVENT_READ, "event 1")
sel.register(event2, selectors.EVENT_READ, "event 2")

# wait for an event or until the 5s timeout expires
events =

if not events:
    print("Timeout after 5s")
    for key, mask in events:

Any sug­ges­ti­ons or impro­ve­ments? Lea­ve a com­ment below :-).


world · 2020-06-07 at 19:22

Thank you for your article
how can i use in my code ?

import os
import time
import datetime
import logging

from watchdog.observers.polling import Pol­lin­gOb­ser­ver as Observer
from import LoggingEventHandler
from watchdog.observers import Observer
from import FileSystemEventHandler

import mysql.connector
mydb = mysql.connector.connect(
mycur­sor = mydb.cursor()
class Watcher:
list_path = ‘.\\a’
def __init__(self): = Observer()

def run(self):
event_handler = Handler()
# for i in range(len(self.list_path)):, self.list_path, recursive=True)
whi­le True:
print („The app is stoped!,Please run again”)
class Handler(FileSystemEventHandler):
def on_any_event(event):
if event.is_directory:
return None

elif event.event_type==‘created’:
# print(event.event_type)
# Take any acti­on here when a file is first created.
#print („Rece­i­ved cre­a­ted event – %s.” % event.src_path)
# print (event.src_path)
i = event.src_path
#### add database ######
file_path = i.replace(‘\n’,”).replace(‘\\’,’/’)

str­Path = os.path.realpath(str(file_path))
nmFol­ders = strPath.split( os.path.sep )

# if nmFolders[-1].endswith(‘.html’):
# print(„Html file is gene­ra­ted! Gene­ra­ted time:”,,” ||| Filename:”,nmFolders[-1])
mycursor.execute(„CREATE TABLE IF NOT EXISTS „+ nmFolders[length‑2] +” (id INT AUTO_INCREMENT PRIMARY KEY, file_name VARCHAR(255), file_root VARCHAR(255))ENGINE=INNODB”)
sql=””„INSERT INTO rss­fol­der (fol­der­na­me)
SELECT * FROM (SELECT ’ ”””+nmFolders[length‑2]+”„„ ‘ AS fol­der­na­me) AS tmp
SELECT fol­der­na­me FROM rss­fol­der whe­re fol­der­na­me=’ ”””+nmFolders[length‑2]+”„„ ‘
) LIMIT 1;”””

sql = „INSERT INTO „+ nmFolders[length‑2] +” (file_name, file_root) VALUES (%s, %s)”

val = (str(nmFolders[-1]), str(file_path))
mycursor.execute(sql, val)

# elif event.event_type == ‘modi­fied’:
# # Taken any acti­on here when a file is modified.
# print („Rece­i­ved modi­fied event – %s.” % event.src_path)

w = Watcher()

Patrick · 2020-04-22 at 20:36

Very nice!
Just a pre­ci­si­on: on Python 3.7, select() return a nametuple, so you have to repla­ce the line:
for ev in


for ev, mask in

Thanks for this very use­ful pie­ce of code.

    Radek Lát · 2020-06-21 at 12:31

    Thanks Patrick (and Bru­no abo­ve). It seems the chan­ge is pre­sent even in 3.4 so no need to keep the old exam­ple. I upda­ted the code accordingly.

Eberto · 2018-10-19 at 17:07

With this, I am able to wait for a time­out sha­red between events. If one times out, the next ones will wait 0 seconds.

events=[threading.Event() for _ in range(10)] # make 10 events
collections.deque((e.clear() for e in events), 0) # clear all event flags

target_time = time.time() + timeout_seconds
activated={e for e in events if e.wait(max(target_time – time.time(), 0))} # wait for events, get a set of acti­va­ted ones

    Bruno · 2020-05-29 at 15:21

    Very nice code !
    It works per­fect­ly for me, except a detail on lines 9 and 10 that I had to modi­fy like :
    for (key, event­smask) in

Alexander Mohr · 2018-04-24 at 23:31

How about Semaphore?

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