Skip to main content

Generic pretty printer of python objects

Project description

Python version support: CPython 2.6, 2.7, 3.2, 3.3 and PyPy.


$ pip install printobject


The standard library pprint module is great at visualizing all kinds of built-in types like lists, dicts and tuples. But it does not attempt to introspect user defined types. This is where printobject comes in. It dumps the internals of any object as a dict, and pretty prints using pprint.

Key points:

  • Any type of object can printed, but depending on the type the output will be more or less insightful.
  • Object introspection is based on the use of dir rather than __dict__ directly.
  • Object attributes only include attributes owned by the object, omitting class attributes.
  • Callables are omitted when introspecting objects. The goal is to visualize the data in objects.
  • The synthetic attributes ___name___ and ___type___ (yes, that’s three underscores!!!) are included in order to provide some metadata about the object being printed.


This modules defines a number of test_xxx functions at module level. They are included in a tests list and visible in the output, but not listed at top level because they are callables.

>>> import sys
>>> from printobject import pp
>>> pp(sys.modules[__name__])
{'___name___': '__main__',
 '___type___': '<module {id0}>',
 '__builtins__': <module 'builtins' (built-in)>,
 '__cached__': None,
 '__file__': '/home/user/code/printobject/printobject/',
 '__loader__': <_frozen_importlib.SourceFileLoader object at 0xb71c520c>,
 '__name__': '__main__',
 '__package__': 'printobject',
 'absolute_import': _Feature((2, 5, 0, 'alpha', 1), (3, 0, 0, 'alpha', 0), 16384),
 'defaults': ('Module',),
 're': <module 're' from '/home/user/code/printobject/.tox/py33/lib/python3.3/'>,
 'sys': <module 'sys' (built-in)>,
 'tests': [<function test_module at 0xb72d23d4>,
           <function test_class at 0xb71c60bc>,
           <function test_instance at 0xb71c6104>,
           <function test_instance_collapsed at 0xb71c614c>,
           <function test_class_old at 0xb71c6194>,
           <function test_instance_old at 0xb71c61dc>,
           <function test_instance_old_collapsed at 0xb71c6224>,
           <function test_function at 0xb71c626c>,
           <function test_method at 0xb71c62b4>,
           <function test_lambda at 0xb71c62fc>,
           <function test_iterable at 0xb71c6344>,
           <function test_generator at 0xb71c638c>]}


>>> class Node(object):
>>>     classatt = 'hidden'
>>>     def __init__(self, name):
>>> = name

>>> from printobject import pp
>>> pp(Node)

{'___name___': 'Node',
 '___type___': '<type {id0}>',
 '__weakref__': {'___name___': '__weakref__',
                 '___type___': '<getset_descriptor {id1}>'},
 'classatt': "'hidden'"}


Object graphs often aren’t fully acyclic. Where cycles exist it usually doesn’t make sense to unroll them, so an object encountered more than once is displayed with the dup tag. Objects also get assigned id’s, so that in the case below it’s clear that dup <Node {id0}>, which appears in the refs attribute of c, is referring back to a.

>>> a, b, c, d = Node('A'), Node('B'), Node('C'), Node('D')
>>> a.refs = [b, d]
>>> b.refs = [c]
>>> c.refs = [a]
>>> d.refs = [c]

>>> from printobject import pp
>>> pp(a)

{'___type___': '<Node {id0}>',
 'name': "'A'",
 'refs': [{'___type___': '<Node {id1}>',
           'name': "'B'",
           'refs': [{'___type___': '<Node {id2}>',
                     'name': "'C'",
                     'refs': ['dup <Node {id0}>']}]},
          {'___type___': '<Node {id3}>',
           'name': "'D'",
           'refs': [{'___type___': '<Node {id2}>',
                     'name': "'C'",
                     'refs': ['dup <Node {id0}>']}]}]}

In the example above c is printed in expanded form twice, because both occurrences are found at the same level of recursion. This can make the output quite verbose if the same object is referenced numerous times, so an alternative is to expand it only the first time and emit dup entries subsequently, as shown below.

>>> pp(a, collapse_duplicates=True)

{'___type___': '<Node {id0}>',
 'name': "'A'",
 'refs': [{'___type___': '<Node {id1}>',
           'name': "'B'",
           'refs': [{'___type___': '<Node {id2}>',
                     'name': "'C'",
                     'refs': ['dup <Node {id0}>']}]},
          {'___type___': '<Node {id3}>',
           'name': "'D'",
           'refs': ['dup <Node {id2}>']}]}

Project details

Release history Release notifications

History Node


History Node


This version
History Node


History Node


History Node


History Node


History Node


Download files

Download the file for your platform. If you're not sure which to choose, learn more about installing packages.

Filename, size & hash SHA256 hash help File type Python version Upload date
printobject-0.1.4-py2.py3-none-any.whl (4.7 kB) Copy SHA256 hash SHA256 Wheel 2.7 Mar 16, 2014
printobject-0.1.4.tar.gz (4.8 kB) Copy SHA256 hash SHA256 Source None Mar 16, 2014

Supported by

Elastic Elastic Search Pingdom Pingdom Monitoring Google Google BigQuery Sentry Sentry Error logging CloudAMQP CloudAMQP RabbitMQ AWS AWS Cloud computing Fastly Fastly CDN DigiCert DigiCert EV certificate StatusPage StatusPage Status page