Obtaining a callable class method object from a specific class

Nathan Duran cocoa at khiltd.com
Thu Apr 10 20:47:32 CEST 2008

This is a contrived pseudocode example which has been broken out of a  
larger problem, so it may seem like a strange thing to want to do,  

I have a group of objects which inherit (single) from a common base  
class like so:

class Root(object):
     def CumulativeScore(cls, arg):
         #Ask every child class to
         #generate a score and add
         #them together
         cumulativescore = 0
         for base in cls.mro():
             cumulativescore += base.Score(arg)
         return cumulativescore
     #No Score method defined in Root so don't try to call one!

class BranchChild(Root):
     def Score(cls, arg):
         return 1

class LeafChild(BranchChild):
     def Score(cls, arg):
         return 3

class LeafChild2(BranchChild):
     #No Score method defined here, either!


The goal is to be able to call CumulativeScore(arg) on an instance of  
any of these objects (Root, Branch or Leaf) which will then chain  
calls (top down) to each subclass' Score method if (and only if) one  
is defined, returning the sum of all of these calls. Kinda like  
constructor chaining, only I don't want it to be explicit/cooperative  
because super() doesn't seem to work in classmethods and I want to  
reduce the amount of redundant boilerplate code in the subclasses  
(which will be numerous).

In order to do this I really need a way to ask LeafChild to give me  
*its* Score method *if* it has one of its own. I don't want its  
parent's method or its grandparent's method (until I get to them of  
course), just the one that's (optionally) defined in LeafChild, so  
getattr() and __dict__ are of no use to me. The only thing I've been  
able to find that actually works is inspect.classify_class_attrs().  
While it delivers the expected behavior, classify_class_attrs spews  
out a ton of superfluous information which I have to parse myself, and  
the method objects it returns in its tuples are not callable to boot.  
This leads to ugly looking code like this:

     def CumulativeScore(cls, arg):
         cumulativescore = 0
         mro = list(cls.mro())
         for base in mro:
             matchfunc = [getattr(base, "Score") for attr in  
inspect.classify_class_attrs(base) if attr[0] == "Score" and attr[2]  
== base]
             if len(matchfunc) == 1:
                 cumulativescore += matchfunc[0](arg)
         return cumulativescore

In looking through the inspect module's documentation, it seems as  
though getmembers() once offered the functionality I require, but no  

"Changed in version 2.2: im_class used to refer to the class that  
defined the method."

I've gotten the feeling from the Python documentation that  
classmethods are seen as third-class citizens, but they are  
unfortunately perfect for my needs, and it doesn't seem like this  
should be as complicated as it is. Is there a simpler, more elegant  
way to ask a class object if it has a particular method definition  
that I've missed somewhere? If not, why can't classify_class_attrs at  
least return a callable method object for me (yes, I've read the  
"unifying" paper)?


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