Rickard Rickard - 5 months ago 19
Python Question

Adding docstrings to namedtuples?

Is it possible to add a documentation string to a namedtuple in an easy manner?

I tried

from collections import namedtuple

Point = namedtuple("Point", ["x", "y"])
"""
A point in 2D space
"""

# Yet another test

"""
A(nother) point in 2D space
"""
Point2 = namedtuple("Point2", ["x", "y"])

print Point.__doc__ # -> "Point(x, y)"
print Point2.__doc__ # -> "Point2(x, y)"


but that doesn't cut it. Is it possible to do in some other way?

Answer

You can achieve this by creating a simple, empty wrapper class around the returned value from namedtuple. Contents of a file I created (nt.py):

from collections import namedtuple

Point_ = namedtuple("Point", ["x", "y"])

class Point(Point_):
    """ A point in 2d space """
    __slots__ = ()

Then in the Python REPL:

>>> print nt.Point.__doc__
 A point in 2d space 

Or you could do:

>>> help(nt.Point)  # which outputs...
Help on class Point in module nt:

class Point(Point)
 |  A point in 2d space
 |  
 |  Method resolution order:
 |      Point
 |      Point
 |      __builtin__.tuple
 |      __builtin__.object
 ...

If you don't like doing that by hand every time, it's trivial to write a sort-of factory function to do this:

def NamedTupleWithDocstring(docstring, *ntargs):
    nt = namedtuple(*ntargs)
    class NT(nt):
        __slots__ = ()
        __doc__ = docstring
    return NT

Point3D = NamedTupleWithDocstring("A point in 3d space", "Point3d", ["x", "y", "z"])

p3 = Point3D(1,2,3)

print p3.__doc__

which outputs:

A point in 3d space