polymorphism in python

Jay O'Connor joconnor at cybermesa.com
Thu Nov 27 00:50:17 CET 2003

Roy Smith wrote:

>Jay O'Connor <joconnor at cybermesa.com> wrote:
>>Languages like Python [and] Smalltalk [...] are not as good at
>>overloading based on argument types (how do you have two methods
>>that have the same name but one takes a single integer argument
>>and one takes a single string argument?
>But how often is it actually useful to do such a thing?  I can't 
>remember the last time I wanted to do something like that in Python.  

I occasionally run into it when I want to display something where you 
can polymorphically ask to display something but how it's displayed 
depends on whether it's a number or not.  However, it's a failry 
contrived example as you can do operator overloading on more than just 
strings and integers. Even on objects within a hiearchy.  I'm not really 
a big fan off it, just that it can be done; and that it's legitamite 

>or you could maybe even do:
>def foo (x):
>   if type(x) == StringType:
>      do string stuff
>   else:
>      do integer stuff

Generally, if you are programming to the interface and not to the class 
(which is what you are usually doing in OO programming, or should be if 
your language allows it) than testing for the actual type of an object 
is usually a no-no

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