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

Nick Coghlan ncoghlan at gmail.com
Tue Jun 28 14:31:33 CEST 2011

On Tue, Jun 28, 2011 at 8:54 PM, Michael Foord
<fuzzyman at voidspace.org.uk> wrote:
> The problem with "data attributes" is that it doesn't mean *anything*, which
> I suppose is useful for invented terminology, but it means it doesn't convey
> anything precise to those who haven't heard the term before. If it becomes
> widely used then that changes I guess. I'd still normally just use
> "attributes" though...

In this context, precision is an illusion. There is *no* precise
terminology, not only because Python blurs the boundaries by design in
many respects (callable or not, method or not, attribute or not, etc),
but also because *people* use the same words to mean slightly
different things.

The best we can hope for is to encourage the right way of thinking
about the situation, and in that regard you have the complete set of
attributes accessible via an object (i.e. via __getattribute__), some
of which are callables (and may or may not act like instance methods)
and the remainder of which are data attributes (some of which may
incidentally be callable, even if they aren't used that way). How a
*particular* attribute is classified is not an inherent property of
the attribute, but also an artifact of the way it is used by the


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

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