Recursive loading trouble for immutables

rekkufa rekkufa at
Fri Nov 23 23:43:28 CET 2007

I am currently building a system for serializing python objects to a readable file-format, as well as creating python objects by parsing the same format. It is more or less complete except for a single issue I just cannot figure out by myself: How to load data that specifies immutables that recursively reference themselves.

There are only a few solutions I can think of.

One: While loading recursive objects, I always create empty versions of objects (lists, dicts, classes) etc, and fill them in afterwards. This works fine for loading recursive lists and such, but as immutables are, well, immutable, this gets me nowhere with important datatypes like tuples.

Two: Global replacement. If I dont remember incorrectly, PyPy has a function for simply globally replacing all references to a given object with another. This would make the loading code a piece of cake, although I assume this functionality doesn't exist in CPython? This is the second time I've had good use for it.

Three: Create transparent proxies everywhere. Just kidding.

Four: Disallow immutable recursiveness. This is bad for two reasons. Firstly, it requires me to greatly increase the complexity of the loading code as I have to topsort all references to avoid recursiveness in immutables while at the SAME TIME allow mutables to be recursive. I can't imagine how unelegant the code will be. Secondly, there is nothing wrong with recursive tuples. To disallow them and work miles around them just because they can't be properly expressed in Python 

In any case I am stumped. It's the last piece of a module I am otherwise very pleased with. There must be a way. I certainly know most people on this list can get around python much better than I do, so, any ideas?

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