With the removal of unbound methods in Python 3, introspecting the class on which a method was defined is not so simple. Python 3.3 gives us __qualname__ for classes and functions (see PEP 3155), which helps somewhat by giving us a string composed at compile-time. However, I was considering something a little more powerful.
I propose that what would have formerly been an unbound method get a new attribute, __origin__. It will be bound to class where the method is defined.
One motivator for this proposal is http://bugs.python.org/issue15582, allowing inspect.getdoc() to "inherit" docstrings. Without a concrete connection between a method and the "origin" class, dynamically determining the docstring is basically a non-starter. The __origin__ attribute would help.
Extended Idea =============
The name, __origin__, is a bit generic to accommodate the possible extension of the proposal to other objects:
* f.__origin__ (the module or function (nested) where the function was defined) * cls.__origin__ (the module, class (nested), or function where the class was defined) * code.__origin__ (the function for which the code object was originally created) * module.__origin__ (a.k.a. module.__file__)
For functions and classes defined in a function, __origin__ would be bound to the function rather than the locals or the code object. For modules, __origin__ is more accurate in the cases that the module was generated from something other than a file. It would still be a string, though. Also, we currently have a convention of setting __module__ to the name of the module rather than the module itself. Whether to break with that convention for __origin__ is an open question which relates to how __origin__ would be used.
Conceivably, each use case for __origin__ could be covered by a name more specific to the object, e.g. module.__file__. However, having the one name would help make the purpose clear and consistent.
The downside of binding the objects to __origin__ is in memory usage and, particularly, in ref-counts/reference-cycles. I expect that this is where the biggest objections will lie. However, my understanding is that this is less of an issue now than it used to be. If need be, weakref proxies could address some of the concerns.
The status quo has a gap in the case of "unbound" methods and of code objects, though __qualname__ does offer an improvement for methods. The actual use case I have relates strictly to those methods. Having something like __origin__ for those methods, at least, would be helpful.