A change to a class attribute does not propagate - bug or feature?

John Machin sjmachin at lexicon.net
Thu Jan 10 13:47:43 CET 2002

vesselin at beonic.com (Vesselin) wrote in message news:<84b16e14.0201092325.242c10df at posting.google.com>...
> """ Please run this code. It seems that in the line:
>     def __init__(self, Name = "newClass" + str(baseClass.ClassId)):
> Python takes the value of baseClass.ClassId from somewhere else
> I use ActivePython build 2.1.212
> """
> class baseClass:
>     ClassId = 1
>     def __init__(self, Name):
>         baseClass.ClassId += 1
>         print "init in baseClass, new ClassId = ",  baseClass.ClassId
>         self.ClassName = Name
> class newClass(baseClass):
>     def __init__(self, Name = "newClass" + str(baseClass.ClassId)):
>         baseClass.__init__(self, Name)
Add two print statements, as per following:

class newClass(baseClass):
    def __init__(self, Name = "newClass" + str(baseClass.ClassId)):
        print "start of init in newClass, Name = %s, " \
              "baseClass.ClassId = %s" % (Name, baseClass.ClassId)
        baseClass.__init__(self, Name)
        print "end of init in newClass, baseClass.ClassId =",

and run your code again. You will see that the class attribute *is*
being propagated. However the expression for the default value for the
Name arg is evaluated *once*, when the def is compiled -- not each
time that the function is called -- so the default value is frozen at
"newClass1" for ever.

By the way, shouldn't what you are calling ClassName and ClassId in
fact be called InstanceName and InstanceId respectively?

> if __name__ == '__main__':

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