return types from library api wrappers

Terry Reedy tjreedy at
Mon Aug 17 04:23:39 CEST 2015

On 8/16/2015 7:31 PM, Joseph L. Casale wrote:
> What's the accepted practice for return types from a c based API
> Python wrapper? I have many methods which return generators
> which yield potentially many fields per iteration. In lower level
> languages we would yield a struct with readonly fields.

Current practice is a NamedTuple for python code or the C equivalent.  I 
forget the C name, but I believe it is used by os.stat

 >>> os.stat('C:/programs')
os.stat_result(st_mode=16895, st_ino=1970324837036820, 
st_dev=1816146727, st_nlink=1, st_uid=0, st_gid=0, st_size=4096, 
st_atime=1437490766, st_mtime=1437490766, st_ctime=1313612988)
 >>> s = os.stat('C:/programs')
 >>> s.st_atime
 >>> s.st_atime = 3
Traceback (most recent call last):
   File "<pyshell#11>", line 1, in <module>
     s.st_atime = 3
AttributeError: readonly attribute

> The existing implementation returns a dict which I am not fond of.
> I'd rather return an object with properties, however all the guys
> who use this api use IDE's and want the type hinting.

I believe the above gives you both: custom class for type hinting and 

Terry Jan Reedy

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