A python based system for parsing OSX System Profiler output.
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===== COPYRIGHT =====

Copyright (c) 2012, Stephen Rosen

===== LICENSING =====

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation. See the GNU Lesser General Public License for more details.

===== WARRANTY =====

This software is distributed without any explicit or implied warranty of any kind.

===== README =====

The config file is in a specialized format which does not contain much descriptive information about the system. Do not look there for comprehensive explanations.

What is inv-parser?

inv-parser is a python based system for handling System Profiler reports from OSX. This is a toolkit which may be useful for automating polling of hardware status over a large number of nearly-uniform macs, without using an ARD database. It was originally developed for use in a university computer lab, in which it was desirable to be able to use command line tools to enter the hardware of each machine into a MySQL database. It is hoped that this simple piece of code will prove useful for others.

Apple's System Profiler utility provides a great deal of hardware and software information readily without our needing to install any third-party software. However, it is stored in a particularly arcane plist file, whose format reportedly changes with some regularity. This is somewhat problematic, but we have found that the raw text output is much more stable. We parse the raw text output of system profiler into an element tree, then lookup xpath expressions on the tree.


The only script you need to touch is db_insert.py This makes use of the other modules in the system, and parses the config file into mappings from xpath expressions to database insertions. In order to view the explanation of options, just run "python db_insert.py -h"

This tool will parse the given report and insert values into the database directly. The machine name that you provide must be correct, otherwise we will fail silently by inserting the report with the wrong machine name. Writing the config file should feel fairly natural, although you should feel free to speak with the project developer(s) about any changes, if you are uncertain. Most of it looks like xpath expressions, although a few extra characters are supported for convenience.


==profiler.py== The Profiler module handles parsing of system profiler output, turning it into an element tree, a recursive dictionary structure. It allows us to perform lookups on the report using xpath expressions, and supports dumping the element tree to a string of xml.

==xml_cleanup.py== The xml_cleanup module is the saddest part of handling system profiler output. Because Apple drops a lot of unicode and non-xml compliant characters, like angle braces, into the system profiler, we need to clean up these names when we build our element tree. However, it is often most convenient to use these uncleaned names in the config.

==db_insert.py== db_insert is, unlike the other python modules, a script. It takes in a config file, a system profiler report, and a machine name, and performs an insertion into a MySQL database using the other modules. In the future, db_insert will not contain raw values about the database, but will pull that information from the config file or another source.