Using __repr__ or __str__ for own printable class?

Steven Taschuk staschuk at
Mon Apr 28 02:38:47 CEST 2003

Quoth Donn Cave:
> Quoth Steven Taschuk <staschuk at>:
> ...
> | I've submitted a documentation patch for the __str__ and __repr__
> | docs, following ideas discussed in this thread:
> |     <>
> I still think that the normal usage of __str__ can be directly
> described as a data conversion to type string.  I know you don't
> find that completely illuminating on its own, but I think it does
> convey an essential idea that is otherwise likely to be missed.
> See for example the __str__ and __repr__ definitions in

Hm... "conversion to type string".  So under this concept str()
converts an object to a string, while repr() represents the object
in a string, right?  Is this what you're saying when you
distinguish "the data as a string" from "the object as a string"?
If so, I quite like it.

(For some reason convert/represent sits better in my brain than
data/object.  Don't ask me; I just think here.)

> Since this apparently isn't as obvious to you as it is to me, you
> may be in a better position to explain it if I can convince you
> that there's something to it.  [...]

*chuckle*  True.  (Not that I'm in any special position vis a vis
changing the documentation.  Quite the contrary.)

> [...] If we can decide on some central
> notion behind normal __str__ usage, the examples will make more
> sense and it won't be necessary to describe __str__ as "not __repr__".

I entirely agree.  I'll have to think about the notion of
conversion to type string and see if I can devise a more
satisfactory explanation of __str__ in those terms.  (Further
bulletins as events warrant.)

Steven Taschuk                                                   w_w
staschuk at                                      ,-= U
                                                               1 1

More information about the Python-list mailing list