newbie class-building question

Jon Clements joncle at
Thu Nov 9 14:33:46 CET 2006

jrpfinch wrote:

> I am constructing a simple class to make sure I understand how classes
> work in Python (see below this paragraph).
> It works as expected, except the __add__ redefinition.  I get the
> following in the Python interpreter:
> >>> a=myListSub()
> >>> a
> []
> >>> a+[5]
> Traceback (most recent call last):
>   File "<stdin>", line 1, in ?
> TypeError: 'str' object is not callable
> >>>
> Please could you let me know where I am going wrong.  I have hacked
> around with the code and tried googling this error message but am
> having difficulty finding the source of the problem.
> Many thanks
> Jon
> class myList:
>     def __init__ (self,value=[]):
>         self.wrapped=[]
>         for x in value :
>             self.wrapped.append(x)
>     def __repr__ (self):
>         return `self.wrapped`
>     def __getattr__ (self,attrib):
>         return getattr(self.wrapped,attrib,'attribute not found')
>     def __len__ (self):
>         return len(self.wrapped)
>     def __getitem__ (self,k):
>         return self.wrapped[k]
>     def __add__(self,other):
>         return self.wrapped+other
> class myListSub(myList):
>     classCounter=0
>     def __init__ (self,value=[]):
>         self.instanceCounter=0
>         myList.__init__(self,value)
>     def __add__(self,other):
>         myListSub.classCounter=myListSub.classCounter+1
>         self.instanceCounter=self.instanceCounter+1
>         myList.__add__(self,other)
>     def getCounters (self):
>         return "classCounter=%s instanceCounter=%s" %
> (myListSub.classCounter,self.classCounter)

I'm not sure what you're trying to achieve with the __getattr__ in
myList, but the reason your __add__ isn't working is that when "a +
[5]" is executed, Python tries to find a __coerce__ attribute (to prove
this just put a "print attrib" as the first line of your __getattr__).
Your customer __getattr__ returns a default string object of 'attribute
not found', when it fails to locate this. Python then attempts to call
this string, and as your exception states -- strings aren't callable.

That should give you enough information to be going onwith.

Also, if you're trying to get use to classes, I would suggest you start
off with the 'new-style' classes; those are the ones that derive from
object. A quick google for new-style classes will sort you.

hth a bit,


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