baffled classes within a function namespace. Evaluation order.

Discussion in 'Python' started by Alastair Thompson, Apr 25, 2013.

  1. I am completely baffled by the behavior of this code with regards to the
    evaluation order of namespaces when assigning the class attributes. Both
    classes are nested within a function I called whywhywhy.

    I assumed that example1 and example2 classes would look first at their own
    namespace, then object, then the whywhywhy func namespace then global, and
    maybe module. It seems this is not the case.

    def whywhywhy(first, second, third):
    def print_stuff():
    print("func: first=", first)
    print("func: second=", second)
    print("func: third=", third)

    class example1(object):
    print("1cls: first=", first)
    print("1cls: second=", second)
    print("1cls: third=", third)

    second = second
    foo = third

    class example2(object):
    print("2cls: first=", first)
    print("2cls: second=", second)
    print("2cls: third=", third)

    second = second
    third = third

    def second():


    The code above produces the following output
    func: first= 1
    func: second= 2
    func: third= 3
    1cls: first= 1
    1cls: second= <function second at 0xc6d380>
    1cls: third= 3
    2cls: first= 1
    2cls: second= <function second at 0xc6d380>
    Traceback (most recent call last):
    File "", line 29, in <module>
    File "", line 18, in whywhywhy
    class example2(object):
    File "", line 21, in example2
    print("2cls: third=", third)
    NameError: name 'third' is not defined

    In particular:

    print_stuff behaves as I would expect
    1cls: second #<--- Why does this look at the global namespace for second
    and not the whywhywhy func namespace first.
    2cls: second #<--- Why can this no longer find third, it surely hasn't hit
    the line third=third

    Thanks for any help you can provide. :)
    Alastair Thompson, Apr 25, 2013
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  2. Alastair Thompson

    Bas Guest

    On Thursday, April 25, 2013 11:27:37 PM UTC+2, Alastair Thompson wrote:
    > I am completely baffled by the behavior of this code with regards to the evaluation order of namespaces when assigning the class attributes.  Bothclasses are nested within a function I called whywhywhy.

    [snip weird namespace problem]


    I am not a namespace expert, but I think the following example shows the same problem in an easier way without any classes, and gives a more helpful error message:

    In [1]: a = 123
    In [2]: def f():
    ...: print a
    ...: b = 456

    In [3]: f()

    In [4]: def g():
    ...: print a
    ...: a = 456

    In [5]: g()
    UnboundLocalError Traceback (most recent call last)
    /home/xxx/<ipython-input-5-d65ffd94a45c> in <module>()
    ----> 1 g()

    /home/xxx/<ipython-input-4-c304da696fc2> in g()
    1 def g():
    ----> 2 print a
    3 a = 456

    UnboundLocalError: local variable 'a' referenced before assignment

    My guess is that in f(), the compiler sees no definition of a, so it assumes is must come from the outer namespace. In g(), however, it sees on the second line that a is uses as an assignment target, so it makes the variable a local. When it is executed, it rightfully complains that the local variable is not yet defined. A smarter compiler might prevent this problem, but then again a smarter programmer would not have local and global variables with the same name.

    In your example, something similar is probably happening, since you assign something to third inside example2, thereby making it 'local'. Since you are dealing with classes, the error message is probably not so clear (but whywhywhy would you define a class inside a function?) Does that make sense?

    Bas, Apr 25, 2013
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