Adventures in Machine Learning

Mastering Parent Class Attributes in Python

Accessing Parent Class Attributes in Python

As your Python programming endeavors get more advanced, you will start creating classes and even classes that inherit properties from their parent or superclass. When it comes to accessing parent class attributes, it can be a bit of a challenge at first.

However, once you understand how to do it, you’ll be able to take advantage of the power of inheritance, which will make your code much more efficient.

Using super() to call parent constructor in child

In Python, the super() method allows you to call the constructor of the parent class, which is useful when you want to perform the parent’s initialization in your child class. The constructor is a special method in Python classes that is invoked when you create a new object of that class.

It initializes the instance variables of the newly created object. The syntax for calling the parent constructor using the super() method is:

“`python

super().__init__(argument list)

“`

Here, the `super()` method is calling the `__init__()` method of the parent class with the arguments passed to it.

Accessing parent class variables

When you create a child class, you can also inherit the class variables of the parent class. You can access the class variables of the parent class from the child instance by using the dot notation, like this:

“`python

class Parent:

class_variable = “Parent class variable”

class Child(Parent):

pass

child = Child()

print(child.class_variable) # Output: Parent class variable

“`

Here, we have a `Parent` class with a class variable `class_variable`.

We’ve created a `Child` class that inherits from the `Parent` class, so it has access to the `class_variable`. We create an instance of the `Child` class and print its `class_variable`.

Accessing parent instance variables

In addition to class variables, you may also need to access instance variables of the parent class in your child class. To do this, you can use the constructor method of the child class to call the constructor method of the parent class using the super() method.

Here’s an example:

“`python

class Parent:

def __init__(self):

self.instance_variable = “Parent instance variable”

class Child(Parent):

def __init__(self):

super().__init__()

child = Child()

print(child.instance_variable) # Output: Parent instance variable

“`

In this example, we have a `Parent` class with an instance variable `instance_variable`. We then create a `Child` class that calls the constructor of the `Parent` class using the super() method.

Finally, we create an instance of the `Child` class and print its `instance_variable`. Using super() vs the class’s name

Sometimes you might be tempted to call a parent class’s __init__ method using the class’s name like so:

“`python

class Child(Parent):

def __init__(self):

Parent.__init__(self)

“`

While this example will work, it is not the recommended way to call the parent’s __init__ method.

Instead, you should use the super() method, which is more flexible and allows for multiple inheritance. Using super() ensures that the parent class’s __init__ method is called in the right order in case of multiple inheritance.

Accessing a method defined in the Parent class

In addition to accessing instance variables and class variables, you can also access methods defined in the parent class from the child class. You can do this using the dot notation and passing `self` as the first argument to the method.

Here’s an example:

“`python

class Parent:

def parent_method(self):

print(“Parent method”)

class Child(Parent):

def child_method(self):

self.parent_method()

child = Child()

child.child_method() # Output: Parent method

“`

Here, we have a `Parent` class with a method `parent_method()`. We’ve created a `Child` class that has a method `child_method()` that calls the parent’s `parent_method()` using the dot notation and passing `self`.

Getting the name of a Parent class in Python

There may be times when you need to get the name of a parent class in Python. You can do this using the `__bases__` attribute, which returns a tuple of the parent classes.

Here’s an example:

“`python

class Parent:

pass

class Child(Parent):

pass

print(Parent.__name__) # Output: Parent

print(Child.__bases__[0].__name__) # Output: Parent

“`

In this example, we have a `Parent` class and a `Child` class that inherits from `Parent`. We then print the name of the `Parent` class using the `__name__` attribute and the name of the first parent class of the `Child` using the `__bases__` attribute.

Getting the name of a Parent class when you only have access to an instance

If you don’t have access to the parent class directly and only have an instance of the child class, you can use the `type()` built-in function to get the class of the object. Here’s an example:

“`python

class Parent:

pass

class Child(Parent):

pass

child = Child()

print(type(child).__bases__[0].__name__) # Output: Parent

“`

In this example, we have a `Parent` class and a `Child` class that inherits from `Parent`.

We then create an instance of the `Child` class and print the name of the first parent class of the instance by using the `type()` function and `__bases__` attribute. Getting the names of the class’s parent classes

If you need to get the names of the immediate parent classes of a class, you can use the `__bases__` attribute of the class object.

Here’s an example:

“`python

class GrandParent:

pass

class Parent(GrandParent):

pass

class Child(Parent):

pass

print(Child.__bases__[0].__name__) # Output: Parent

print(Parent.__bases__[0].__name__) # Output: GrandParent

“`

In this example, we have a `GrandParent` class, a `Parent` class that inherits from `GrandParent`, and a `Child` class that inherits from `Parent`. We then print the name of the immediate parent class of `Child` and the name of the immediate parent class of `Parent` using the `__bases__` attribute.

Additional Resources

There are many more related topics to learn about when it comes to accessing parent class attributes in Python. For example, you might want to learn more about Object-Oriented Programming concepts, such as polymorphism, encapsulation, and inheritance.

There are many online tutorials, courses, and reference materials available to help you learn more about these topics. Accessing parent class attributes in Python can be challenging, but it is crucial for efficient code, especially when creating classes that inherit properties from a parent or superclass.

This article has covered several methods for accessing parent class attributes, including using super() to call a parent constructor in a child, accessing parent class variables, parent instance variables, and methods defined in the parent class. It has also discussed getting the name of the parent class and immediate parent classes.

To make the most out of these techniques, developers may want to explore further into Object-Oriented Programming concepts, such as polymorphism, encapsulation, and inheritance. Remembering these methods’ appropriate usage can help produce more exceptional code overall, especially when multiple inheritance comes into play.

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