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A record type for Python

Project description

record-type

A proof-of-concept record type for Python.

Goals

  • Create a simple data type that's easy to explain to beginners
  • Creating the data type itself should be fast
  • Type annotations are supported, but not required
  • Instances are immutable to make them (potentially) hashable
  • Support Python's entire parameter definition syntax for instance instantiation, and do so idiomatically
  • Support structural typing as much as possible (e.g., equality based on object "shape" instead of inheritance)

Example

Let's say you're tracking items in your store. You may want to know an item's name, price, and quantity on hand (this is an example from the dataclasses documentation). That can be represented as a simple data class to store all that information together.

The record type is meant to help facilitate creating such simple data classes:

from records import record

@record
def InventoryItem(name: str, price: float, *, quantity: int = 0):
    """Class for keeping track of an item in inventory."""

This creates an InventoryItem class whose call signature for intantiation matches that of the function. Every parameter becomes the corresponding name of an attribute that the argument gets assigned to. It also has:

  • __slots__ for performance
  • __match_args__ for pattern matching
  • __annotations__ for runtime type annotations
  • __eq__() for equality
  • __hash__() for hashing
  • __repr__() which is suitable for eval()
  • Immutability

Compared to other approaches

dataclasses.dataclass

You can create a dataclass for this without much issue:

from dataclasses import dataclass, KW_ONLY

@dataclass(frozen=True, slots=True)
class InventoryItem:
    """Class for keeping track of an item in inventory."""
    name: str
    price: float
    _: KW_ONLY
    quantity: int = 0

The drawbacks compared to record are:

  • The use of KW_ONLY is awkward
  • It requires using type annotations
  • To make it immutable -- which implies being hashable -- and use __slots__ requires remembering to opting in with the appropriate parameters
  • No support for *args or **kwargs

Named tuples

collections.namedtuple

Using namedtuple allows for a quick way to create the class:

from collections import namedtuple

InventoryItem = namedtuple("InventoryItem", ["name", "price", "quantity"])

The drawbacks compared to record are:

  • Unable to support keyword-only, positional-only, *args, and **kwargs parameters
  • No support for type annotations
  • No support for __match_args__
  • Requires supporting both the attribute- and index-based APIs for any code going forward that returns an instance of the class
  • No docstring
typing.NamedTuple

You can use NamedTuple to create a class that supports type annotations for a named tuple:

from typing import NamedTuple

class InventoryItem(NamedTuple):
    """Class for keeping track of an item in inventory."""
    name: str
    price: float
    quantity: int = 0

The drawbacks compared to record are:

  • Unable to support keyword-only, positional-only, *args, and **kwargs parameters
  • Requires type annotations
  • No support for __match_args__
  • Requires supporting both the attribute- and index-based APIs for any code going forward that returns an instance of the class

types.SimpleNamespace

You can create a simple function that wraps SimpleNamespace

from types import SimpleNamespace

def InventoryItem(name: str, price: float, *, quantity: int = 0):
    return SimpleNamespace(name=name, price=price, quantity=quantity)

The drawbacks compared to record are:

  • No support for __slots__
  • No support for __match_args__
  • No docstring
  • No runtime type annotations
  • Mutable (and so no hashing)

Manual

You can implement the equivalent of record manually:

from typing import Any, NoReturn


class InventoryItem:
    """Class for keeping track of an item in inventory."""

    __slots__ = ("name", "price", "quantity")
    __match_args__ = ("name", "price")

    name: str
    price: float
    quantity: int

    def __init__(self, name: str, price: float, *, quantity: int = 0) -> None:
        object.__setattr__(self, "name", name)
        object.__setattr__(self, "price", price)
        object.__setattr__(self, "quantity", quantity)

    def __repr__(self) -> str:
        return f"{self.__class__.__name__}({self.name!r}, {self.price!r}, quantity={self.quantity!r})"

    def __setattr__(self, _attr: Any, _val: Any) -> NoReturn:
        raise TypeError(f"{self.__class__.__name__} is immutable")

    def __eq__(self, other: Any) -> bool:
        if self.__slots__ != getattr(other, "__slots__", None):
            return NotImplemented
        return all(
            getattr(self, attr) == getattr(other, attr)
            for attr in self.__slots__
        )

    def __hash__(self) -> int:
        return hash(tuple(self.name, self.price, self.quantity))

The drawbacks compared to record are:

  • It's much more verbose to implement

Project details


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