Generate variables at run time?

Irmen de Jong irmen at
Thu Jan 9 22:03:07 CET 2003

Byron Morgan wrote:

> I have been using REXX for years for all my scripting needs. In REXX, I can
> use any string as a variable with no special handling.

Something like that is perfectly possible in Python as well. See below.

> for the curious:
> In REXX, for a similar situation, I use a stem "train", then add the train
> number, then add each attribute as events are reported.
> train. = 0
> train.123 = 1 (value represents the number of cars in train)
> train.123.stat = 1 (0 if stopped, 1 if moving)
> train.123.doors = 1 (1 if closed, 0 if open)

The thing is, Python allows you to add names to the naming context of a
class instance dynamically. This means that (unlike most other languages)
you can create an instance of an 'empty' class, like so:

class Train:


and then populate the object with other objects of your choice:

train.carclasses = [1,2,2,1,2,2,1,]

You can dump all attributes again with, for instance:

print vars(train)


PS I actually use this trick myself often when I know that I have
a set of variables that are somehow related, but don't really need
the overhead of a full class definition, or when the set of variables
is not known in advance.

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