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DVCFileSystem provides a pythonic file interface ( fsspec-compatible) for a DVC repo. It is a read-only filesystem, hence it does not support any write operations, like put_file, cp, rm, mv, mkdir etc.

class DVCFileSystem(AbstractFileSystem):
    def __init__(
        url: Optional[str] = None,
        rev: Optional[str] = None,
        config: Optional[Dict[str, Any]] = None,

DVCFileSystem provides a unified view of all the files/directories in your repository, be it Git-tracked or DVC-tracked, or untracked (in case of a local repository). It can reuse the files in DVC cache and can otherwise stream from supported remote storage.

>>> from dvc.api import DVCFileSystem
# opening a local repository
>>> fs = DVCFileSystem("/path/to/local/repository")
# opening a remote repository
>>> url = "https://github.com/iterative/example-get-started.git"
>>> fs = DVCFileSystem(url, rev="main")


  • url - optional URL or local path to the DVC project. If unspecified, the DVC project in current working directory is used. (Equivalent to the repo argument in dvc.api.open() and dvc.api.read())

  • rev - optional Git commit (any revision such as a branch or a tag name, a commit hash, or an experiment name).

  • config optional config dictionary to pass through to the DVC project.

Opening a file

>>> with fs.open("model.pkl") as f:
        model = pickle.load(f)

This is similar to dvc.api.open() which returns a file-like object. Note that, unlike dvc.api.open(), the mode defaults to binary mode, i.e. "rb". You can also specify encoding argument in case of text mode ("r").

Reading a file

>>> text = fs.read_text("get-started/data.xml", encoding="utf-8")

This is similar to dvc.api.read(), which returns the contents of the file as a string.

To get the binary contents of the file, you can use read_bytes() or cat_file().

>>> contents = fs.read_bytes("get-started/data.xml")

Listing all DVC-tracked files recursively

>>> fs.find("/", detail=False, dvc_only=True)

This is similar to dvc ls --recursive --dvc-only CLI command. Note that the "/" is considered as the root of the Git repo. You can specify sub-paths to only return entries in that directory. Similarly, there is fs.ls() that is non-recursive.

Listing all files (including Git-tracked)

>>> fs.find("/", detail=False)

This is similar to dvc ls --recursive CLI command. It returns all of the files tracked by DVC and Git and if filesystem is opened locally, it also includes the local untracked files.

Downloading a file or a directory

>>> fs.get_file("data/data.xml", "data.xml")

This downloads "data/data.xml" file to the current working directory as "data.xml" file. The DVC-tracked files may be downloaded from the cache if it exists or may get streamed from the remote.

>>> fs.get("data", "data", recursive=True)

This downloads all the files in "data" directory - be it Git-tracked or DVC-tracked into a local directory "data". Similarly, DVC might fetch files from remote if they don't exist in the cache.

Using subrepos

If you have initialized DVC in a subdirectory of the Git repository, use DVCFileSystem(url, subrepos=True) to access the subdirectory.

>>> from dvc.api import DVCFileSystem
>>> url = "https://github.com/iterative/monorepo-example.git"
# by default, DVC initialized in a subdirectory will be ignored
>>> fs = DVCFileSystem(url, rev="develop")
>>> fs.find("nlp", detail=False, dvc_only=True)
# use subrepos=True to list those files
>>> fs = DVCFileSystem(url, subrepos=True, rev="develop")
>>> fs.find("nlp", detail=False, dvc_only=True)
['nlp/data/data.xml', 'nlp/data/features/test.pkl', 'nlp/data/features/train.pkl', 'nlp/data/prepared/test.tsv', 'nlp/data/prepared/train.tsv', 'nlp/eval/importance.png', 'nlp/model.pkl']

fsspec API Reference

As DVCFileSystem is based on fsspec, it is compatible with most of the APIs that it offers. When DVC is installed in the same Python environment as any other fsspec-compatible library (such as Hugging Face Datasets), DVCFileSystem will be used automatically when a dvc:// filesystem URL is provided to fsspec function calls. For more details check out the fsspec's API Reference.

Note that dvc:// URLs contain the path to the file you wish to load, relative to the root of the DVC project. dvc:// URLs should not contain a Git repository URL. The Git repository URL is provided separately via the url argument for DVCFileSystem.

When using dvc:// URLs, additional constructor arguments for DVCFileSystem (such as url or rev) should be passed via the storage_options dictionary or as keyword arguments, depending on the specific fsspec method behing called. Please refer to the fsspec documentation for specific details.

fsspec API examples:

For methods which take filesystem arguments as additional keyword arguments:

>>> import fsspec
>>> fsspec.open(
...   "dvc://workshop/satellite-data/jan_train.csv",
...   url="https://github.com/iterative/dataset-registry.git",
... )
<OpenFile 'workshop/satellite-data/jan_train.csv'>

For methods which take filesystem arguments via the storage_options dictionary:

>>> import fsspec
>>> fsspec.get_fs_token_paths(
...   "dvc://workshop/satellite-data/jan_train.csv",
...   storage_options={"url": "https://github.com/iterative/dataset-registry.git"},
... )
(<dvc.fs.dvc._DVCFileSystem object at 0x113f7a290>, '06e54af48d3513bf33a8988c47e6fb47', ['workshop/satellite-data/jan_train.csv'])