[Python-Dev] __import__ problems

Nick Coghlan ncoghlan at gmail.com
Sat Nov 29 05:17:06 CET 2008

Guido van Rossum wrote:
> On Fri, Nov 28, 2008 at 6:56 PM, Nick Coghlan <ncoghlan at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Steven D'Aprano wrote:
>>> Should this be reported as a documentation bug? Given the new import
>>> hooks, would it be fair to say that the main reason for __import__ is
>>> to use it to import a module whose name is only known at runtime?
>> Only known at runtime, and for some reason you want an actual module
>> object rather than just the module's global namespace (since you can use
>> runpy.run_module() if you only need the latter).
>> At the very least, the __import__ docs should probably be updated to
>> point to run_module() as an alternative approach, so a doc issue is
>> probably a good idea.
> This sounds wrong to me. run_module() runs the module each time it is
> called. __import__ has all the semantics of the import statement (by
> definition -- it is almost a tautology :-) in that it first tries to
> see if the module is already imported. Pointing to run_module() as an
> alternative just perpetuates the misunderstanding (alas fairly common
> amongst casual users) about what exactly import does.

Ah, good point. I guess it depends on the specific use case...


Nick Coghlan   |   ncoghlan at gmail.com   |   Brisbane, Australia

More information about the Python-Dev mailing list