Posted By: user1632861
Could someone explain to me the meaning of
@staticmethod in python? I need to know the difference and the meaning.
As far as I understand,
@classmethod tells a class that it’s a method which should be inherited into subclasses, or… something. However, what’s the point of that? Why not just define the class method without adding
@staticmethod or any
tl;dr: when should I use them, why should I use them, and how should I use them?
staticmethod are quite similar, there’s a slight difference in usage for both entities:
classmethod must have a reference to a class object as the first parameter, whereas
staticmethod can have no parameters at all.
class Date(object): def __init__(self, day=0, month=0, year=0): self.day = day self.month = month self.year = year @classmethod def from_string(cls, date_as_string): day, month, year = map(int, date_as_string.split('-')) date1 = cls(day, month, year) return date1 @staticmethod def is_date_valid(date_as_string): day, month, year = map(int, date_as_string.split('-')) return day <= 31 and month <= 12 and year <= 3999 date2 = Date.from_string('11-09-2012') is_date = Date.is_date_valid('11-09-2012')
Let’s assume an example of a class, dealing with date information (this will be our boilerplate):
class Date(object): def __init__(self, day=0, month=0, year=0): self.day = day self.month = month self.year = year
This class obviously could be used to store information about certain dates (without timezone information; let’s assume all dates are presented in UTC).
Here we have
__init__, a typical initializer of Python class instances, which receives arguments as a typical
instancemethod, having the first non-optional argument (
self) that holds a reference to a newly created instance.
We have some tasks that can be nicely done using
Let’s assume that we want to create a lot of
Date class instances having date information coming from an outer source encoded as a string with format ‘dd-mm-yyyy’. Suppose we have to do this in different places in the source code of our project.
So what we must do here is:
- Parse a string to receive day, month and year as three integer variables or a 3-item tuple consisting of that variable.
Dateby passing those values to the initialization call.
This will look like:
day, month, year = map(int, string_date.split('-')) date1 = Date(day, month, year)
For this purpose, C++ can implement such a feature with overloading, but Python lacks this overloading. Instead, we can use
classmethod. Let’s create another “constructor“.
@classmethod def from_string(cls, date_as_string): day, month, year = map(int, date_as_string.split('-')) date1 = cls(day, month, year) return date1 date2 = Date.from_string('11-09-2012')
Let’s look more carefully at the above implementation, and review what advantages we have here:
- We’ve implemented date string parsing in one place and it’s reusable now.
- Encapsulation works fine here (if you think that you could implement string parsing as a single function elsewhere, this solution fits the OOP paradigm far better).
clsis an object that holds the class itself, not an instance of the class. It’s pretty cool because if we inherit our
Dateclass, all children will have
staticmethod? It’s pretty similar to
classmethod but doesn’t take any obligatory parameters (like a class method or instance method does).
Let’s look at the next use case.
We have a date string that we want to validate somehow. This task is also logically bound to the
Date class we’ve used so far, but doesn’t require instantiation of it.
Here is where
staticmethod can be useful. Let’s look at the next piece of code:
@staticmethod def is_date_valid(date_as_string): day, month, year = map(int, date_as_string.split('-')) return day <= 31 and month <= 12 and year <= 3999 # usage: is_date = Date.is_date_valid('11-09-2012')
So, as we can see from usage of
staticmethod, we don’t have any access to what the class is—it’s basically just a function, called syntactically like a method, but without access to the object and its internals (fields and another methods), while classmethod does.