Short script to backup MySQL database from Python

November 3, 2010
SQL MySQL Python

Although MySQL is normally thought of as the relational database management system that many websites are built on, I’ve found it to be pretty useful for many non-web tasks. Some advantages to using MySQL is that it’s cross platform so I can use it on my Linux and Windows computers and the availability of the gui tool phpMyAdmin which is also cross-platform.

If you use phpMyAdmin, or you’re a linux geek, you know that backing up your MySQL database to a .sql file is easy. There is a point-and-click interface for phpMyAdmin and you can use mysqldump in a terminal on linux. Turns out this also works on windows with a small tweak and can be called from a Python script as well if you are using that language for development….and if you’re not you should really consider it.

Steps to backup a MySQL database running on windows from Python

  1. My default install of WAMP2 for Windows 7 didn’t set an environment variable for the MySQL folder so I added it by adding the text “;C:\wamp\bin\mysql\MySQL 5.1.36\bin” without quotes to the windows PATH by right clicking “My Computer” > Properties > Advanced settings > Environment variables.

  2. Now you should be able to run mysql from the command line from any folder. Try it by opening a command window (win + r > cmd > OK) and typing: “mysql -u username”. Pretty cool.

  3. Now you’re set to run MySQL commands from Python (or PHP, etc. as well I imagine). The following few lines of code will backup an entire database to a temporary directory in your root directory. Good luck!

import os
target_dir = 'C:\\TEMP\\'
os.system("mysqldump --add-drop-table -c -u username -ppassword database > "+target_dir+"database.bak.sql")

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