[Python-il] Fwd: Is there a Python module for handling Python object addresses?

Amit Aronovitch aronovitch at gmail.com
Sat Sep 11 17:43:26 IDT 2010

Hi Ram,

It seems to me that the reason you are not getting an answer is that people
do not understand your question.
I, for one, do not understand what you mean by "address".
The common interpretation of this term is the physical (virtual) memory
address of the PyObject (which might be useful for mangling with ctypes or
an extension), but from your comments it does not seem that this is what you
I assume you know of id(), so probably you do not need that as a unique id.

Please specify a clear use case.

On Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 9:40 PM, cool-RR <cool-rr at cool-rr.com> wrote:

> On Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 8:23 PM, Imri Goldberg <lorgandon at gmail.com>wrote:
>> Several points:
>> 1. Unless you are doing something very special (like a debugger), needing
>> this seems like a bad design choice. Just my shnekel.
>> 2. Although you can (in some cases for some value of some) define it,
>> talking about an "official address" of an object, seems extremely
>> non-pythonic.
>> 3. To your actual question: you can use the gc module to get the referrers
>> to a specific object. By traversing this tree structure, you can probably
>> extract the information you want. Furthermore, for many objects, such as
>> instances and functions, finding the definition point is not that hard
>> (using the inspect module). In any case it seems to me that what you seek to
>> do seek to do will be very hard to accomplish correctly, require some "deep
>> magic", and IMHO, yield low returns.
>> Cheers,
>> Imri
> Hi Imri,
> I said:
> "When I say "object", I mostly mean classes, modules, functions, methods,
> stuff like these, which usually do not change their address."

No object in Python ever changes its physical address (at least I can not
think of any such scenario).

> Why would I need to use gc for it? I can get the address for almost any
> object with `__module__`.

If you need the address for enumerating the referrers, the answer would
indeed be gc.

Do you mean you want the container object, or the source file where the
object is defined?
Maybe inspect.getfile() or inspect.getmodule() could help?
Note that some types of objects just do not contain this information (ints,
strings etc.)

> This kind of thing is used in Django settings module, (specifying strings
> instead of objects themselves,) so why is it a bad design choice when I want
> to do it?
> Also, the pickle module in the standard library uses an object's address to
> pickle some kinds of objects (classes, functions).
pickle uses the name of the module and the name of the function/class to
pickle it (assuming the modules would be available when unpickling - if not,
you'd need the "fickle" module mentioned in a previous post).

Anyway, I'm frustrated from getting a lot of "You're doing it wrong" answers
> for this question, and I just want an answer, not explanation on why I
> shouldn't do it. (My question is, "Is there a mature module for these
> tasks?")
If I understand correctly, "inspect" is the module you seek.
But to get a better answer, you will have to give a clearer description of
what you are trying to achieve.

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