Basic Inheritance Question

Matthew Bell usenet at
Fri Mar 19 12:06:47 CET 2004

I've got a conceptual problem to do with inheritance.  
I'd be grateful if someone could help to clear up my 

An example.  Say I need a class that's basically a 
list, with all the normal list methods, but I want a 
custom __init__ so that the list that is created is 
[1,2,3] rather than [] (yes, it's a bogus example, 
but it does to make the point).  Without bothering 
with inheritance, I could do:

  class mysimplelistclass:
    def __init__(self):
      self.internallist = [1, 2, 3]
This would work but I would, of course, need to define 
methods in "mysimpleclass" to deal with all the various 
methods that the original list class provides.

Obviously, the thing to do is to inherit from the list 
class, override the __init__ method and leave the rest 
of the normal list class's methods untouched.  So I'd 
write something like:

  class myinheritedlistclass(list):
    def __init__(self):
      <now what?>
It's at this point I get confused.  Obviously, I don't 
use the "self.internallist = [1, 2, 3]" bit as before 
because I'd then need to override all of the rest of 
the normal list methods to get them to act on 

Conceptually, I suppose I need something like:

<somemagictoken> = superclass.self.__init__([1, 2, 3)]

but that is, of course, totally ridiculous.

Essentially, then, if I've inherited another class, how 
do I create an instance of the class I've inherited such 
that methods I haven't overrriden will still work, and 
how can I then refer to that instance from my subclass?  
I can guess it's something to do with "self" but exactly 
what, I'm really at a loss.

Any assistance in my confusion would be gratefully received!


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