self naming class?

Serge Rey serge at
Fri Oct 19 00:09:29 CEST 2001

On Thu, Oct 18, 2001 at 10:22:27AM -0700, Chris Barker wrote:
> Luigi Ballabio wrote:
> > At 10:05 PM 10/18/01 +1000, Serge Rey wrote:
> > >i'm trying to create a class that assigns a name attribute in such a way
> > >that the name is set equal to the name of the instance. for example:
> > >
> > >test = MyClass()
> > >
> > >so that == "test"
> > I see a phylosophical problem with the above, which is, "test" is not the
> > name of your instance but rather the name of a reference to such instance.
> Luigi is right, and while I'm sure that someone on this group could find
> a way to do it, you probably don't want to. What you need to do is step
> back and ask yourself why you want to so this at all. In general, having
> a link between the data and actual variable names can make it a little
> easier to think about the code, but takes away a lot of flexibility, and
> is ripe for the kind of problems that Luigi has pointed out,
> particularly in Python.
thanks to you and luigi for pointing out the problems with what i was
trying to do.

learning of the problem with this is more important to me than getting a

> When I want a bunch of instances to have useful names that I can refer
> to them by, I usually put them in a dictionary:
> d = {}
> dict["test"] = MyClass()
> dict["test2"] = MyClass()

this was one of my early solutions, but then you have to access the
instance via the dictionary key, rather than directly.

> or if you want the instance to have a name atribute:
> thisname = "test"
> dict[thisname] = MyClass(name = thisname)
> Note, however, that I probably wouldn't do this (or what you have
> proposed) at all. If the object has a name attribute, than you don't
> want a duplication of data, there is too much of a chance of it getting
> mixed up. You might do:
> thisname = "test"
> instance = MyClass(name = thisname)
> dict[] = instance
> that way you are guaranteed that the names match.

yes, i'll have to rework my thinking along these lines.

> A good general rule is that if it is hard to do something in Python, you
> are probably trying to solve a problem in a non "Pythonic" way, and you
> should step back and find a more natural way to do it.

a very good rule. it is going up over my desk :)

Sergio J. Rey
GPG fingerprint =  16DB 4934 E0F1 B386 AE81  D379 914C 33E5 F690 95DF
"The primary purpose of the DATA statement is to give names to constants;
instead of referring to pi as 3.141592653589793 at every appearance, the
variable PI can be given that value with a DATA statement and used instead
of the longer form of the constant. This also simplifies modifying the
program, should the value of pi change."
        - from a Fortran manual for Xerox computers
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