Destructors and exceptions

David Turner dkturner at
Mon Jun 7 16:51:23 CEST 2004

Hi all

I noticed something interesting while testing some RAII concepts
ported from C++ in Python.  I haven't managed to find any information
about it on the web, hence this post.

The problem is that when an exception is raised, the destruction of
locals appears to be deferred to program exit.  Am I missing
something?  Is this behaviour by design?  If so, is there any reason
for it?  The only rationale I can think of is to speed up exception
handling; but as this approach breaks many safe programming idioms, I
see it as a poor trade.

Here is the code in question:

class Foo:
  def __init__(self):
    print "--foo %s created" % id(self)
  def __del__(self):
    print "--foo %s destroyed" % id(self)

def normal_exit():
  print "normal_exit starts"
  x = Foo()
  print "normal_exit ends"

def premature_exit():
  print "premature_exit starts"
  x = Foo()
  return 0
  print "premature_exit ends"

def exceptional_exit():
  print "exceptional_exit starts"
  x = Foo()
  raise "oops"
  print "exceptional_exit ends"

if __name__ == "__main__":
  print "main block starts"
    print "exception"
  print "main block ends"

The output I get is:

main block starts
normal_exit starts
--foo 141819532 created
normal_exit ends
--foo 141819532 destroyed
premature_exit starts
--foo 141819532 created
--foo 141819532 destroyed
exceptional_exit starts
--foo 141819532 created
main block ends
--foo 141819532 destroyed

...which indicates to me that the destruction of the local in
exceptional_exit() only happens when the program exits.  Surely it
should occur at the point at which the exception is raised?

David Turner

More information about the Python-list mailing list