[Python-Dev] Issue10403 - using 'attributes' instead of members in documentation

Michael Foord fuzzyman at voidspace.org.uk
Mon Jun 27 21:30:12 CEST 2011

On 27/06/2011 20:22, R. David Murray wrote:
> [snip...]
> So, the correct generic term for something that can be accessed
> via attribute notation is attribute.  The more specific term for an
> attribute that is a method is method.  We don't currently have a more
> specific collective term for attributes that aren't methods.  *That*
> is the problem.

I think part of the problem is also that *some* people's usage of the 
term doesn't match the precise terminology.

It sounds like if I say "an object's attributes" some of us will expect 
that to include the methods and some of us not. I'd say anecdotally that 
when people talk about object attributes collectively they are *not* 
including methods. When they talk about attribute lookup that rightly 
includes everything.

We do have other terms: instance attributes (which do not include 
methods) and class attributes (which technically do - but is also used 
to indicate attributes set on the class rather than the instance but not 
including methods [1]).

A precise term to describe "attributes that are not methods" would still 
be helpful. I guess the closest we have is "non-descriptors", but that 
requires a knowledge of the descriptor protocol for it to be useful.

Making-things-worse-and-not-better'ly yours,


[1] I'm talking about *usage* of the term here... I guess usage is 
inconsistent anyway, sometimes people will mean to include methods and 
sometimes not.
> --
> R. David Murray           http://www.bitdance.com
> [*] it also seems to me that the object model is, in many ways, *part*
> of the API, in the sense that the API is how you access the object model,
> and so understanding the object model is, if not essentially, then at
> least very helpful.
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