PEP 354: Enumerations in Python

Roy Smith roy at
Wed Mar 1 03:34:22 CET 2006

Ben Finney <bignose+hates-spam at> wrote:

> > a = enum ('foo', 'bar', 'baz')
> > b = enum ('foo', 'bar', 'baz')
> Two separate enumerations are created

OK, most of the rest follows from that.

> > str (a)
> Not defined in the current specification. Suggestions?

Well, by analogy with

>>> a = set ((1, 2, 3))
>>> print '%s' % a
set([1, 2, 3])

I would think:

enum('foo', 'bar', 'baz')

would make sense.

> > repr (a)
> Not defined in the current specification. Suggestions?

Hmm.  Maybe what I suggested for str() would work for repr() too.  I'm a 
little worried, however, about things that aren't == but print the same.  
It might make more sense for repr() to include the id (in the style of 
'<__main__.x instance at 0x8208f6c>').  Same with the repr() of an enum 

> > hash (a)
> -1210774164  # or some other hash value

I saw some debate about mutable or immutable.  Doesn't making something 
hashable kinda-sorta mean it has to be immutable?

> > You imply that it works from "An enumerated type is created from a
> > sequence of arguments to the type's constructor", but I suspect
> > that's not what you intended.
> That's what I intended; a sequence of arguments. Is there a better way
> to refer to the positional arguments collectively?

I'm not really a language lawyer, so I can't say.  I was mostly trying to 
explore the corners of the envelope.

> > There's been a number of threads recently where people called 
> > regex methods with flags (i.e. re.I) when integers were expected, with 
> > bizarre results.  Making the flags into an enum would solve the problem 
> > while retaining backwards compatibility.
> Yes, this is a prime use case for enums. I tried to cover this in the
> "Motivation"::
>     Other examples include error status values and states
>     within a defined process.
> Can anyone think of a better way to express this, without necessarily
> referring to any specific set of flags or states or codes or whatever?

Cite the regex thread :-)

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