class / module introspection?

Brian Munroe brian.e.munroe at
Wed Apr 2 18:03:52 CEST 2008

I'm struggling with an architectural problem and could use some

I'm writing an application that will gather statuses from disparate
systems.  Because new systems show up all the time, I'm trying to
design a plugin architecture that will allow people to contribute new
backends by just dropping a package/module into a specific directory.
The object methods in these backends will conform to a documented API
that the main application will call.

Currently I have something that looks like this:


Then from my application ( I can simply call:

from backends import system1

be1 = system1.Backend()

This would work great if I knew about system1 and system2 ahead of
time, but that isn't the case.  Having to rewrite every time a
new backend module comes along is obviously a stupid idea too.  I've
been thinking I need some kind of introspection, but I've been reading
about it and a whole mess of design pattern stuff, so my head is
swimming and I am totally unsure of what the best approach is.

My guess is that I need to load all the backends at runtime - then
introspect the loaded classes?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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