correct way to use super (argument passing)

114

So I was following Python's Super Considered Harmful, and went to test out his examples.

However, Example 1-3, which is supposed to show the correct way of calling super when handling __init__ methods that expect different arguments, flat-out doesn't work.

This is what I get:

~ $ python example1-3.py 
MRO: ['E', 'C', 'A', 'D', 'B', 'object']
E arg= 10
C arg= 10
A
D arg= 10
B
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "Download/example1-3.py", line 27, in <module>
    E(arg=10)
  File "Download/example1-3.py", line 24, in __init__
    super(E, self).__init__(arg, *args, **kwargs)
  File "Download/example1-3.py", line 14, in __init__
    super(C, self).__init__(arg, *args, **kwargs)
  File "Download/example1-3.py", line 4, in __init__
    super(A, self).__init__(*args, **kwargs)
  File "Download/example1-3.py", line 19, in __init__
    super(D, self).__init__(arg, *args, **kwargs)
  File "Download/example1-3.py", line 9, in __init__
    super(B, self).__init__(*args, **kwargs)
TypeError: object.__init__() takes no parameters

It seems that object itself violates one of the best practices mentioned in the document, which is that methods which use super must accept *args and **kwargs.

Now, obviously Mr. Knight expected his examples to work, so is this something that was changed in recent versions of Python? I checked 2.6 and 2.7, and it fails on both.

So what is the correct way to deal with this problem?

This question is tagged with python

~ Asked on 2012-01-23 14:04:35

The Best Answer is


119

Sometimes two classes may have some parameter names in common. In that case, you can't pop the key-value pairs off of **kwargs or remove them from *args. Instead, you can define a Base class which unlike object, absorbs/ignores arguments:

class Base(object):
    def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs): pass

class A(Base):
    def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
        print "A"
        super(A, self).__init__(*args, **kwargs)

class B(Base):
    def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
        print "B"
        super(B, self).__init__(*args, **kwargs)

class C(A):
    def __init__(self, arg, *args, **kwargs):
        print "C","arg=",arg
        super(C, self).__init__(arg, *args, **kwargs)

class D(B):
    def __init__(self, arg, *args, **kwargs):
        print "D", "arg=",arg
        super(D, self).__init__(arg, *args, **kwargs)

class E(C,D):
    def __init__(self, arg, *args, **kwargs):
        print "E", "arg=",arg
        super(E, self).__init__(arg, *args, **kwargs)

print "MRO:", [x.__name__ for x in E.__mro__]
E(10)

yields

MRO: ['E', 'C', 'A', 'D', 'B', 'Base', 'object']
E arg= 10
C arg= 10
A
D arg= 10
B

Note that for this to work, Base must be the penultimate class in the MRO.

~ Answered on 2012-01-23 14:39:05


29

If you're going to have a lot of inheritence (that's the case here) I suggest you to pass all parameters using **kwargs, and then pop them right after you use them (unless you need them in upper classes).

class First(object):
    def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
        self.first_arg = kwargs.pop('first_arg')
        super(First, self).__init__(*args, **kwargs)

class Second(First):
    def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
        self.second_arg = kwargs.pop('second_arg')
        super(Second, self).__init__(*args, **kwargs)

class Third(Second):
    def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
        self.third_arg = kwargs.pop('third_arg')
        super(Third, self).__init__(*args, **kwargs)

This is the simplest way to solve those kind of problems.

third = Third(first_arg=1, second_arg=2, third_arg=3)

~ Answered on 2012-01-23 14:24:15


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