[Python-ideas] proper naming of Enum members
ethan at stoneleaf.us
Mon Jul 18 11:17:42 EDT 2016
There are currently a few locations in the stdlib, such as http and socket, that are now using
Enums to replace constants; those names are all upper-case -- those aren't the names I am
The names I am speaking of are those in brand-new enumerations where we have full control.
As an example:
NewYear = "First day of the year.", 'absolute', JANUARY, 1
MartinLutherKingJr = "Birth of Civil Rights leader.", 'relative', JANUARY, MONDAY, 3
President = "Birth of George Washington", 'relative', FEBRUARY, MONDAY, 3
Memorial = "Memory of fallen soldiers", 'relative', MAY, MONDAY, 5
Independence = "Declaration of Independence", 'absolute', JULY, 4
Labor = "American Labor Movement", 'relative', SEPTEMBER, MONDAY, 1
Columbus = "Americas discovered", 'relative', OCTOBER, MONDAY, 2
Veterans = "Recognition of Armed Forces service", 'relative', NOVEMBER, 11, 1
Thanksgiving = "Day of Thanks", 'relative', NOVEMBER, THURSDAY, 4
Christmas = "Birth of Jesus Christ", 'absolute', DECEMBER, 25
def __init__(self, doc, type, month, day, occurance=None):
self.__doc__ = doc
self.type = type
self.month = month
self.day = day
self.occurance = occurance
def date(self, year):
returns the observed date of the holiday for `year`
def next_business_day(cls, date, days=1):
Return the next `days` business day from date.
def count_business_days(cls, date1, date2):
Return the number of business days between 'date1' and 'date2'.
def year(cls, year):
Return a list of the actual FederalHoliday dates for `year`.
Take the name "NewYear": if it had been a global constant I would have named it "NEWYEAR"; if
it had been a normal class attribute I would have named it "new_year"; however, being an Enum
member, it is neither of those things.
I've written some custom data types as part of my dbf package, and a few of them have instances
that are singletons that are created in the global (okay, module) namespace, and for them I
followed Python's lead in naming singletons: Python has used Title Case in such things as None,
True, and False, so I followed suit and named mine -- Null, NullDate, NullTime, NullDateTime, etc.
Given my past history with using and creating singleton objects, I followed suit when creating
my own Enum classes.
I was recently queried about my apparent break with PEP 8 for naming Enum members, to which I
> Considering the strange beast that an Enum is, there is not much precedent for it anywhere.
> - Enum is a class
> - but it is a container
> - and can be iterated over
> - and it has a length (which can be zero)
> - but it's always True in a boolean sense
> - Enum members are instances of the Enum class
> - but are pre-created
> - and new ones cannot be created
> - but are available as attributes on the class
> Given all that I have been using Title case (or CamelCase) to name the members as it helps
> distinguish an Enum member from an ordinary attribute (which Enum classes can also have).
I forgot to include in that reply that I think CamelCase also helps to emphasize the special
singleton nature of Enum members.
My question for the community: Your thoughts/opinions of my reasoning, and if you don't agree
then which casing choice would you recommend and use, and why? (Reminder: this question does
not include Enums whose names are replacements for existing constants and so the names cannot
More information about the Python-ideas