Python argparse ignore unrecognised arguments

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Optparse, the old version just ignores all unrecognised arguments and carries on. In most situations, this isn"t ideal and was changed in argparse. But there are a few situations where you want to ignore any unrecognised arguments and parse the ones you"ve specified.

For example:

parser = argparse.ArgumentParser()
parser.add_argument("--foo", dest="foo")

$python --foo 1 --bar 2
error: unrecognized arguments: --bar

Is there anyway to overwrite this?

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Python argparse ignore unrecognised arguments ones: Questions

Is there a list of Pytz Timezones?

3 answers

I would like to know what are all the possible values for the timezone argument in the Python library pytz. How to do it?


Answer #1

You can list all the available timezones with pytz.all_timezones:

In [40]: import pytz
In [41]: pytz.all_timezones

There is also pytz.common_timezones:

In [45]: len(pytz.common_timezones)
Out[45]: 403

In [46]: len(pytz.all_timezones)
Out[46]: 563

Python argparse ignore unrecognised arguments ones: Questions

Python strptime() and timezones?

3 answers

I have a CSV dumpfile from a Blackberry IPD backup, created using IPDDump. The date/time strings in here look something like this (where EST is an Australian time-zone):

Tue Jun 22 07:46:22 EST 2010

I need to be able to parse this date in Python. At first, I tried to use the strptime() function from datettime.

>>> datetime.datetime.strptime("Tue Jun 22 12:10:20 2010 EST", "%a %b %d %H:%M:%S %Y %Z")

However, for some reason, the datetime object that comes back doesn"t seem to have any tzinfo associated with it.

I did read on this page that apparently datetime.strptime silently discards tzinfo, however, I checked the documentation, and I can"t find anything to that effect documented here.

I have been able to get the date parsed using a third-party Python library, dateutil, however I"m still curious as to how I was using the in-built strptime() incorrectly? Is there any way to get strptime() to play nicely with timezones?


Answer #1

I recommend using python-dateutil. Its parser has been able to parse every date format I"ve thrown at it so far.

>>> from dateutil import parser
>>> parser.parse("Tue Jun 22 07:46:22 EST 2010")
datetime.datetime(2010, 6, 22, 7, 46, 22, tzinfo=tzlocal())
>>> parser.parse("Fri, 11 Nov 2011 03:18:09 -0400")
datetime.datetime(2011, 11, 11, 3, 18, 9, tzinfo=tzoffset(None, -14400))
>>> parser.parse("Sun")
datetime.datetime(2011, 12, 18, 0, 0)
>>> parser.parse("10-11-08")
datetime.datetime(2008, 10, 11, 0, 0)

and so on. No dealing with strptime() format nonsense... just throw a date at it and it Does The Right Thing.

Update: Oops. I missed in your original question that you mentioned that you used dateutil, sorry about that. But I hope this answer is still useful to other people who stumble across this question when they have date parsing questions and see the utility of that module.

Python argparse ignore unrecognised arguments ones: Questions

Fitting empirical distribution to theoretical ones with Scipy (Python)?

3 answers

INTRODUCTION: I have a list of more than 30,000 integer values ranging from 0 to 47, inclusive, e.g.[0,0,0,0,..,1,1,1,1,...,2,2,2,2,...,47,47,47,...] sampled from some continuous distribution. The values in the list are not necessarily in order, but order doesn"t matter for this problem.

PROBLEM: Based on my distribution I would like to calculate p-value (the probability of seeing greater values) for any given value. For example, as you can see p-value for 0 would be approaching 1 and p-value for higher numbers would be tending to 0.

I don"t know if I am right, but to determine probabilities I think I need to fit my data to a theoretical distribution that is the most suitable to describe my data. I assume that some kind of goodness of fit test is needed to determine the best model.

Is there a way to implement such an analysis in Python (Scipy or Numpy)? Could you present any examples?

Thank you!


Answer #1

Distribution Fitting with Sum of Square Error (SSE)

This is an update and modification to Saullo"s answer, that uses the full list of the current scipy.stats distributions and returns the distribution with the least SSE between the distribution"s histogram and the data"s histogram.

Example Fitting

Using the El Niño dataset from statsmodels, the distributions are fit and error is determined. The distribution with the least error is returned.

All Distributions

All Fitted Distributions

Best Fit Distribution

Best Fit Distribution

Example Code

%matplotlib inline

import warnings
import numpy as np
import pandas as pd
import scipy.stats as st
import statsmodels.api as sm
from scipy.stats._continuous_distns import _distn_names
import matplotlib
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

matplotlib.rcParams["figure.figsize"] = (16.0, 12.0)"ggplot")

# Create models from data
def best_fit_distribution(data, bins=200, ax=None):
    """Model data by finding best fit distribution to data"""
    # Get histogram of original data
    y, x = np.histogram(data, bins=bins, density=True)
    x = (x + np.roll(x, -1))[:-1] / 2.0

    # Best holders
    best_distributions = []

    # Estimate distribution parameters from data
    for ii, distribution in enumerate([d for d in _distn_names if not d in ["levy_stable", "studentized_range"]]):

        print("{:>3} / {:<3}: {}".format( ii+1, len(_distn_names), distribution ))

        distribution = getattr(st, distribution)

        # Try to fit the distribution
            # Ignore warnings from data that can"t be fit
            with warnings.catch_warnings():
                # fit dist to data
                params =

                # Separate parts of parameters
                arg = params[:-2]
                loc = params[-2]
                scale = params[-1]
                # Calculate fitted PDF and error with fit in distribution
                pdf = distribution.pdf(x, loc=loc, scale=scale, *arg)
                sse = np.sum(np.power(y - pdf, 2.0))
                # if axis pass in add to plot
                    if ax:
                        pd.Series(pdf, x).plot(ax=ax)
                except Exception:

                # identify if this distribution is better
                best_distributions.append((distribution, params, sse))
        except Exception:

    return sorted(best_distributions, key=lambda x:x[2])

def make_pdf(dist, params, size=10000):
    """Generate distributions"s Probability Distribution Function """

    # Separate parts of parameters
    arg = params[:-2]
    loc = params[-2]
    scale = params[-1]

    # Get sane start and end points of distribution
    start = dist.ppf(0.01, *arg, loc=loc, scale=scale) if arg else dist.ppf(0.01, loc=loc, scale=scale)
    end = dist.ppf(0.99, *arg, loc=loc, scale=scale) if arg else dist.ppf(0.99, loc=loc, scale=scale)

    # Build PDF and turn into pandas Series
    x = np.linspace(start, end, size)
    y = dist.pdf(x, loc=loc, scale=scale, *arg)
    pdf = pd.Series(y, x)

    return pdf

# Load data from statsmodels datasets
data = pd.Series(sm.datasets.elnino.load_pandas().data.set_index("YEAR").values.ravel())

# Plot for comparison
ax = data.plot(kind="hist", bins=50, density=True, alpha=0.5, color=list(matplotlib.rcParams["axes.prop_cycle"])[1]["color"])

# Save plot limits
dataYLim = ax.get_ylim()

# Find best fit distribution
best_distibutions = best_fit_distribution(data, 200, ax)
best_dist = best_distibutions[0]

# Update plots
ax.set_title(u"El Niño sea temp.
 All Fitted Distributions")
ax.set_xlabel(u"Temp (°C)")

# Make PDF with best params 
pdf = make_pdf(best_dist[0], best_dist[1])

# Display
ax = pdf.plot(lw=2, label="PDF", legend=True)
data.plot(kind="hist", bins=50, density=True, alpha=0.5, label="Data", legend=True, ax=ax)

param_names = (best_dist[0].shapes + ", loc, scale").split(", ") if best_dist[0].shapes else ["loc", "scale"]
param_str = ", ".join(["{}={:0.2f}".format(k,v) for k,v in zip(param_names, best_dist[1])])
dist_str = "{}({})".format(best_dist[0].name, param_str)

ax.set_title(u"El Niño sea temp. with best fit distribution 
" + dist_str)
ax.set_xlabel(u"Temp. (°C)")


Why use argparse rather than optparse?

1 answers

I noticed that the Python 2.7 documentation includes yet another command-line parsing module. In addition to getopt and optparse we now have argparse.

Why has yet another command-line parsing module been created? Why should I use it instead of optparse? Are there new features that I should know about?


Answer #1

As of python 2.7, optparse is deprecated, and will hopefully go away in the future.

argparse is better for all the reasons listed on its original page (

  • handling positional arguments
  • supporting sub-commands
  • allowing alternative option prefixes like + and /
  • handling zero-or-more and one-or-more style arguments
  • producing more informative usage messages
  • providing a much simpler interface for custom types and actions

More information is also in PEP 389, which is the vehicle by which argparse made it into the standard library.


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