Modules aren't first-class values (was: New to Python: Features)

Cameron Laird claird at
Wed Oct 6 00:08:05 CEST 2004

In article <mailman.4374.1097008001.5135.python-list at>,
Tim Peters  <tim.peters at> wrote:
>[Richard Blackwood]
>>> But modules for example, the docs don't tell me at all that I can use
>>> modules as variables and that I can pass them into and out of
>>> functions/methods.
>[Cameron Laird]
>> I've seen you assert this a couple of times.  I haven't been
>> able to spot the revelation in this thread which inspired you
>> to it.
>Someone said so, in reply.
>> I suspect there's a confusion somewhere.  Modules
>> are *not* first-class values,
>Of course they are:  a module is a Python object, and is as
>"first-class" as an integer, function, file, ..., or any other kind of
>Python object.
>> although their names are.
>I don't know what that means.
>> It sounds as though the standard documentation lacks something
>> in regard to modules, but I don't know what it is.
>All Python objects can be passed to functions, returned from
>functions, stored as values in lists and dicts, etc.  The Python docs
>don't explicitly say that all over again for each object type, though
>-- it's universally true.
>>>> import math
>>>> type(math)  # name 'math' is bound to a module object
><type 'module'>
>>>> import doctest  # ditto name 'doctest'
>>>> type(doctest)
><type 'module'>
>>>> import new   # you can even create module objects out of thin air
>>>> print new.module.__doc__
>module(name[, doc])
>Create a module object.
>The name must be a string; the optional doc argument can have any type.
>>>> def getsin(mod):   # a function taking a module object as argument
>...     return mod.sin
>>>> doctest = math  # silly but legitimate
>>>> getsin(doctest)(3.14)
>>>> m = new.module('mymod')
>>>> m.__name__
>>>> m.sin = math.sin
>>>> getsin(m)(3.14)
>and so on.

Yes; well said (and by Mr. Kostyrka, also).  I perceived
confusion, but I certainly added to it, rather than
helping.  My apologies to those I misled, and thanks for
the quick correction.

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