[Python-ideas] Continuation of `__name__` or a builtin function for general name getting

Alireza Rafiei alireza.rafiei94 at gmail.com
Sun Jun 18 17:38:20 EDT 2017

Hi all,

I'm not sure whether this idea has been discussed before or not, so I
apologize in advanced if that's the case.

Consider the behavior:

>>> f = lambda: True
> >>> f.__name__
> '<lambda>'
> >>> x = f
> >>> x.__name__
> '<lambda>'

I'm arguing the behavior above is too brittle/limited and, considering that
the name of the attribute is `__name__`, not entirely consistent with
Python's AST. Consider:

>>> f = lambda: True
> >>> x = f

At the first line, an ast.Assign would be created whose target is an
ast.Name whose `id` is `f`.
At the second line, an ast.Assign would be created whose target is an
ast.Name whose `id` is `x`.
However, as you can see `__name__` special method returns 'lambda' in both
cases (just like it was defined
whereas I think either it should have returned '<lambda>' and 'x' or a new
function/attribute should exist that does so and more.

For example, consider:

>>> x_1 = 1
> >>> x_2 = 1
> >>> x_3 = 1
> >>> x_4 = x_1
> >>> for i in [x_1, x_2, x_3, x_4]:
> >>>     print(i)
> 1
> 1
> 1
> 1

Now assume such a function exist and is called `name`. Then:

>>> name(1)
> '1'
> >>> name("Something")
> "Something"
> >>> name(x_1)
> 'x_1'
> >>> name(x_4)
> 'x_4'
> >>> name(x_5)
> 'x_5' # Or an Exception!
> >>> def itername(collection):
> >>>     for i in map(lambda x: name(x), collection):
> >>>         yield i
> >>>
> >>> for i in [x_1, x_2, x_3, x_4]:
> >>>     print(i, name(i))
> 1, 'i'
> 1, 'i'
> 1, 'i'
> 1, 'i'
> >>> for i in itername([x_1, x_2, x_3, x_4]):
> >>>     print(i)
> 'x_1'
> 'x_2'
> 'x_3'
> 'x_4'

I think above example gives an idea of the behavior I'm proposing. I can
implement it in a hacky way by parsing the block into ast and going through
all the nodes that have an `id` or a `name` or `asname` etc, but this
behavior wouldn't be pretty for run-time cases e.g. `itername` in the
example above.

Anyway I'd appreciate any input.

P.S. I must confess that I can't think of a single case where having this
function is the only way to do the job, if the job is sufficiently
different from the specification of said function. It'd be only for the
sake of convenience, and continuation of what already was there with
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