[Numpy-discussion] asanyarray vs. asarray

Chris Barker chris.barker at noaa.gov
Tue Oct 30 17:44:48 EDT 2018

On Tue, Oct 30, 2018 at 2:22 PM, Stephan Hoyer <shoyer at gmail.com> wrote:

> The Liskov substitution principle (LSP) suggests that the set of
> reasonable ndarray subclasses are exactly those that could also in
> principle correspond to a new dtype. Of np.ndarray subclasses in
> wide-spread use, I think only the various "array with units" types come
> close satisfying this criteria. They only fall short insofar as they
> present a misleading dtype (without unit information).

How about subclasses that only add functionality? My only use case of
subclassing is exactly that:

I have a "bounding box" object (probably could have been called a
rectangle) that is a subclass of ndarray, is always shape (2,2), and has
various methods for merging two such boxes, etc, adding a point, etc.

I did it that way, 'cause I had a lot of code already that simply used a
(2,2) array to represent a bounding box, and I wanted all that code to
still work.

I have had zero problems with it.

Maybe that's too trivial to be worth talking about, but this kind of use
case can be handy.

It is a bit awkward to write the code, though -- it would be nice to have a
cleaner API for this sort of subclassing (not that I have any idea how to
do that)

The main problem with subclassing for numpy.ndarray is that it guarantees
> too much: a large set of operations/methods along with a specific memory
> layout exposed as part of its public API.

This is a big deal -- we really have two concepts here:
 - a Python class (type) with certain behaviors in Python code
 - a wrapper around a strided memory block.

maybe it's possible to be clear about that distinction:

"Duck Arrays" are the Python API

Maybe a C-API object  would be useful, that shares the memory layout, but
could have completely different functionality at the Python level.



Christopher Barker, Ph.D.

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Chris.Barker at noaa.gov
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