[Numpy-discussion] Is `numpy.lib.shape_base.normalize_axis_index` considered part of the public API?

Sebastian Berg sebastian at sipsolutions.net
Sun Apr 5 10:00:47 EDT 2020

On Sun, 2020-04-05 at 00:43 -0400, Warren Weckesser wrote:
> On 4/4/20, Warren Weckesser <warren.weckesser at gmail.com> wrote:
> > It would be handy if in scipy we can use the function
> > `numpy.lib.shape_base.normalize_axis_index` as a consistent method
> > for
> > validating an `axis` argument.  Is this function considered part of
> > the public API?
> > 
> > There are modules in numpy that do not have leading underscores but
> > are still usually considered private.  I'm not sure if
> > `numpy.lib.shape_base` is one of those.  `normalize_axis_index` is
> > not
> > in the top-level `numpy` namespace, and it is not included in the
> > API
> > reference
> > (
> > https://numpy.org/devdocs/search.html?q=normalize_axis_index&check_keywords=yes&area=default
> > ),
> > so I'm not sure if we can safely consider this function to be
> > public.
> > 

I do not see a reason why we should not make those functions public.
The only thing I see is that they are maybe not really required in the
main namespace, i.e. you can be expected to use::

    from numpy.something import normalize_axis_tuple

I think, since this is a function for library authors more than end-
users. And we do not have much prior art around where to put something
like that.



> > Warren
> > 
> Answering my own question:
> "shape_base.py" is not where `normalize_axis_index` is originally
> defined, so that module can be ignored.
> The function is actually defined in `numpy.core.multiarray`.  The
> pull
> request in which the function was created is
> https://github.com/numpy/numpy/pull/8584. Whether or not the function
> was to be public is discussed starting here:
> https://github.com/numpy/numpy/pull/8584#issuecomment-281179399.  A
> leading underscore was discussed and intentionally not added to the
> function.  On the other hand, it was not added to the top-level
> namespace, and Eric Wieser wrote "Right now, it is only accessible
> via
> np.core.multiarray.normalize_axis_index, so yes, an internal
> function".
> There is another potentially useful function, `normalize_axis_tuple`,
> defined in `numpy.core.numeric`.  This function is also not in the
> top-level numpy namespace.
> So it looks like neither of these functions is currently intended to
> be public. For the moment, I think we'll create our own utility
> functions in scipy.  We can switch to using the numpy functions if
> those functions are ever intentionally made public.
> Warren
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