Newbie OOP Question.(diff between function, module and class)

Michael Gilfix mgilfix at
Tue Jun 11 00:53:26 CEST 2002

  Just a small addition...

On Mon, Jun 10 @ 10:17, Skip Montanaro wrote:
>     SA> I'm still trying to grasp this OOP concept in Python. Can someone
>     SA> tell me the difference between a function, a module, and a class?
>     SA> Since Python defines them all as objects, how do they differ outside
>     SA> of being called from inside the script or outside the script?
> You posted this midday Saturday and here it's Monday morning but you still
> have no replies to this question?  I would have thought people would jump
> all over the opportunity to respond to a question like this.
> Here's my take on things:
>  * A function is an action to perform using a set of input arguments and
>    returning a set of output arguments.  For example:
>    >>> print sin(47)
>    0.123573122745
>  * A class associates a chunk of data with a set of functions which operate
>    on that data.  The first argument to each function in a class (typically
>    called a "method" in Python) is a reference to the data stored in that
>    instance of the class.  For example:
>     import math
>     class Point:
>         def __init__(self, x, y):
>             self.x = x
>             self.y = y
>         def polar(self):
>             return math.sqrt(self.x**2+self.y**2), math.atan2(self.y, self.x)

  A class is what is usually used to embody an object. An object
can be though of as a data structure whose methods adhere to the
"protocol" of that data structure. Python looks for some special
methods to implement behaviors, such as object creation and deletion,
addition, etc. In the OOP world, methods are operations which act on
the object and usually bring about a change in the object, either
internally or externally. You can get as fancy as you want in the
philosophy but there's a start :)

>  * A module is an object that partitions the namespace in a hierarchy.  For
>    example, you can have a function named "sin" which is distinct from the
>    sin function in the math module ("math.sin").  Modules used in a
>    straightforward way only add a single extra level of hierarchy to the
>    namespace.  Packages generalize this concept to multiple levels (modules
>    inside modules).

                     -- Mike

Michael Gilfix
mgilfix at

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