Class changes in circular imports when __name__ == '__main__'

Spencer Pearson speeze.pearson at
Sun Sep 5 22:19:46 CEST 2010

Hi! I'm writing a package with several files in it, and I've found
that "isinstance" doesn't work the way I expect under certain

Short example: here are two files.
import filetwo

class AClass( object ):

if __name__ == '__main__':
  a = AClass()
  filetwo.is_aclass( a )


import fileone

def is_aclass( a ):
  print "The argument is", ("" if isinstance(a, fileone.AClass) else
"not"), "an instance of fileone.AClass"

If you run, it will tell you that "The argument is not an
instance of fileone.AClass", which seems strange to me, given that the
fileone module is the one that CREATES the object with its own AClass
class. And if you replace "if __name__ == '__main__'" with "def
main()", start Python, import fileone, and call fileone.main(), it
tells you that the argument IS an instance of AClass.

So, the module's name change to __main__ when you run it on its own...
well, it looks like it puts all of the things defined in fileone in
the __main__ namespace INSTEAD of in the fileone module's namespace,
and then when filetwo imports fileone, the class is created again,
this time as fileone.AClass, and though it's identical in function to
__main__.AClass, one "is not" the other.

Is this kind of doubled-back 'isinstance' inherently sinful? I mean, I
could solve this problem by giving all of my classes "classname"
attributes or something, but maybe it's just a sign that I shouldn't
have to do this in the first place.

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