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

cool-RR cool-rr at cool-rr.com
Sat Sep 11 18:04:59 IDT 2010

Hello Amit,

On Sat, Sep 11, 2010 at 4:43 PM, Amit Aronovitch <aronovitch at gmail.com>wrote:

> 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
> want.
> I assume you know of id(), so probably you do not need that as a unique id.

I defined "object address" in the beginning my first message. In case it
wasn't clear enough, I will give two examples:

1. Here's a little shell session:

>>> import re

>>> re.match('q', 'q')

<_sre.SRE_Match object at 0x00D38250>

Do you see that "_sre.SRE_Match" thing? That's what I mean by address. You
can easily understand which class the object is just from this string.

2. Here's a statement from a Django settings module:







Those strings are addresses. They tell Django which class you are referring
to, without actually having to import the class.

I know that this definition of "object address" is my own idiosyncratic
definition, but I think it will be natural to Python programmers, since
Python (and Django) use this concept, except they don't explicitly call it
an address.

Please specify a clear use case.

1. Django settings module.
2. `repr`. Especially if you want to shorten the address, according to point
3 of my first message. It's a lot nicer to have:

<garlicsim.Project containing 101 nodes and employing 4 crunchers
at 0x1f668d0>

Then to have

<garlicsim.asynchronous_crunching.project.Project containing 101 nodes and
employing 4 crunchers at 0x1f668d0>

(Since `Project` is already available in the `garlicsim` namespace.)
3. I'm making a GUI in which the user will be able to manipulate Python
functions, and I want to display the shortest name possible on the screen.

> 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).

We are not speaking about the physical address in memory.

>> 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?

I assume that now when I explained my "address" definition more clearly,
it's understood that `gc` and `inspect` are not needed.

Note that some types of objects just do not contain this information (ints,
> strings etc.)

I said:

"When I say "object", I mostly mean classes, modules, functions, methods,
stuff like these, which usually do not change their address."

>> 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).

Well, that is exactly the address.

> 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.
>     AA

I hope that I've given a clear enough description in this message.

Anyway, I already started coding it, I'd say it's 20% complete now.
("Complete" being defined as "ready for alpha or beta release, with tests
and documentation.")

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