design question, metaclasses?

Darren Dale dsdale24 at
Sun Apr 12 23:53:40 CEST 2009

On Apr 12, 4:50 pm, Kay Schluehr <kay.schlu... at> wrote:
> On 11 Apr., 20:15, Darren Dale <dsdal... at> wrote:
> > I am working on a project that provides a high level interface to hdf5
> > files by implementing a thin wrapper around h5py.
> > I would like to
> > generalize the project so the same API can be used with other formats,
> > like netcdf or ascii files. The format specific code exists in File,
> > Group and Dataset classes, which I could reimplement for each format.
> > But there are other classes deriving from Group and Dataset which do
> > not contain any format-specific code, and I would like to find a way
> > to implement the functionality once and apply uniformly across
> > supported formats.
> Seems like you are doing it wrong. The classical OO approach is to add
> more details / refining classes in subclasses instead of doing it the
> other way round and derive the less specific classes from the more
> specific ones.

I think I am following the classical OO approach, refining details in
subclasses. I just want a given subclass implementation describing a
complex dataset to be able to work on top of multiple hierarchical
file formats (like NetCDF or HDF5) by deriving from either NetCDF or
HDF5 base classes that have an identical API. Those base classes
encapsulate all the format-specific details, the subclasses allow a
uniform image to be handled differently than a nonuniform image with a
mask (for example). Maybe I should be delegating rather than

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