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Simple method invocation pickling.

Project description

MethodPickle (methodpickle) is a quick library that allows simple pickling and unpickling of function and method invocation. Function & method module loading is handled automatically, and methods can be specified by name as well.

The ability to pickle a method invocation allows for queueing and delayed execution of arbitrary code. This is useful for parallelization, logging, queueing, etc.


Steve Lacy <>
Twitter: @sklacy

Features & Usage

Please see the unit tests in for some more verbose examples, but I’ll go through a quick example here.:

from methodpickle.defer import defer

# These are the functions that we're going to defer
def some_function(x, y):
    return x*x + y*y

# methodpickle supports deferring execution of classmethods as well, so
# here's a simple class with a method:
def some_class(object):
    def __init__(self, x):
        self._x = x

    def calc(self, y):
        return (self._x * self._x + y * y)

if __name__ == '__main__':

    # the defer function takes a method and it's arguments, and turns it
    # into a pickleable object.
    storable_func = defer(some_function, 5, 4)

    # So, we pickle that guy into a string.
    method_str = pickle.dumps(storable_func)

    # You can now take method_str and do whatever you like with it.  Write
    # it to a database, send it to another process, put it in your logs,
    # whatever.

    # Then, you can unpickle the stored method invocation, and run it,
    # like this:
    recovered_func = pickle.loads()
    assert( == 5*5 + 4*4)

    # methodpickle also supports pickling of classmethods.  Note that your
    # class must support pickling and the methods should have no side
    # effects.

    i = some_class(2)
    storable_classmethod = defer(i, 3)

    classmethod_str = storable_method.dumps()
    recovered_classmethod = pickle.loads(classmethod_str)
    assert( == 2*2 + 3*3)

For convenience, there’s also a decorator form of the defer function, called deferred. Again, see the implementation or for more details.


  • All arguments to functions must themselves be pickle-able. This

    includes ‘self’ for class method invocations

  • Functions and classes must be at the module level. Inner classes and

    inner functions don’t have an easy-to-discover import path, so all the deferred functions should be at the top level of your module. I’d suggest putting them all in the same file (say,

  • All method arguments are deepcopied at the time of the deferral. Thus,

    if you pass a very large datastructure to the deferral methods, it may have a performance impact. In addition, if you pass a mutable datastructur (dict, list, etc.) then subsequent modifications will have no effect.

  • Watch out for double invocation of functions & methods. This is both

    a feature and a caveat. Once you pickle a function call, that value could be unpickled and run more than once. Watch out for anything that has unexpected side effects!

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