PEP 367 – New Super
- Calvin Spealman <ironfroggy at gmail.com>, Tim Delaney <timothy.c.delaney at gmail.com>
- Standards Track
- 28-Apr-2007, 29-Apr-2007, 29-Apr-2007, 14-May-2007
Table of Contents
- Numbering Note
- Reference Implementation
- Alternative Proposals
This PEP has been renumbered to PEP 3135. The text below is the last version submitted under the old number.
This PEP proposes syntactic sugar for use of the
super type to automatically
construct instances of the super type binding to the class that a method was
defined in, and the instance (or class object for classmethods) that the method
is currently acting upon.
The premise of the new super usage suggested is as follows:
to replace the old:
super(Foo, self).foo(1, 2)
and the current
__builtin__.super be aliased to
__builtin__.super to be removed in Python 3.0).
It is further proposed that assignment to
super become a
similar to the behaviour of
The current usage of super requires an explicit passing of both the class and instance it must operate from, requiring a breaking of the DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) rule. This hinders any change in class name, and is often considered a wart by many.
Within the specification section, some special terminology will be used to distinguish similar and closely related concepts. “super type” will refer to the actual builtin type named “super”. A “super instance” is simply an instance of the super type, which is associated with a class and possibly with an instance of that class.
Because the new
super semantics are not backwards compatible with Python
2.5, the new semantics will require a
from __future__ import new_super
__builtin__.super will be aliased to
This will occur regardless of whether the new
super semantics are active.
It is not possible to simply rename
__builtin__.super, as that would affect
modules that do not use the new
super semantics. In Python 3.0 it is
proposed that the name
__builtin__.super will be removed.
Replacing the old usage of super, calls to the next class in the MRO (method
resolution order) can be made without explicitly creating a
instance (although doing so will still be supported via
function will have an implicit local named
super. This name behaves
identically to a normal local, including use by inner functions via a cell,
with the following exceptions:
- Assigning to the name
superwill raise a
SyntaxErrorat compile time;
- Calling a static method or normal function that accesses the name
superwill raise a
Every function that uses the name
super, or has an inner function that
uses the name
super, will include a preamble that performs the equivalent
super = __builtin__.__super__(<class>, <instance>)
<class> is the class that the method was defined in, and
<instance> is the first parameter of the method (normally
instance methods, and
cls for class methods). For static methods and normal
<class> will be
None, resulting in a
raised during the preamble.
Note: The relationship between
__super__ is similar to that
Much of this was discussed in the thread of the python-dev list, “Fixing super anyone?” .
Determining the class object to use
The exact mechanism for associating the method with the defining class is not
specified in this PEP, and should be chosen for maximum performance. For
CPython, it is suggested that the class instance be held in a C-level variable
on the function object which is bound to one of
NULL (not part of a class),
Py_None (static method) or a class object (instance or class method).
super actually become a keyword?
With this proposal,
super would become a keyword to the same extent that
None is a keyword. It is possible that further restricting the
name may simplify implementation, however some are against the actual keyword-
ization of super. The simplest solution is often the correct solution and the
simplest solution may well not be adding additional keywords to the language
when they are not needed. Still, it may solve other open issues.
super used with __call__ attributes
It was considered that it might be a problem that instantiating super instances the classic way, because calling it would lookup the __call__ attribute and thus try to perform an automatic super lookup to the next class in the MRO. However, this was found to be false, because calling an object only looks up the __call__ method directly on the object’s type. The following example shows this in action.
class A(object): def __call__(self): return '__call__' def __getattribute__(self, attr): if attr == '__call__': return lambda: '__getattribute__' a = A() assert a() == '__call__' assert a.__call__() == '__getattribute__'
In any case, with the renaming of
__builtin__.__super__ this issue goes away entirely.
It is impossible to implement the above specification entirely in Python. This reference implementation has the following differences to the specification:
supersemantics are implemented using bytecode hacking.
- Assignment to
superis not a
SyntaxError. Also see point #4.
- Classes must either use the metaclass
autosuper_metaor inherit from the base class
autosuperto acquire the new
superis not an implicit local variable. In particular, for inner functions to be able to use the super instance, there must be an assignment of the form
super = superin the method.
The reference implementation assumes that it is being run on Python 2.5+.
#!/usr/bin/env python # # autosuper.py from array import array import dis import new import types import __builtin__ __builtin__.__super__ = __builtin__.super del __builtin__.super # We need these for modifying bytecode from opcode import opmap, HAVE_ARGUMENT, EXTENDED_ARG LOAD_GLOBAL = opmap['LOAD_GLOBAL'] LOAD_NAME = opmap['LOAD_NAME'] LOAD_CONST = opmap['LOAD_CONST'] LOAD_FAST = opmap['LOAD_FAST'] LOAD_ATTR = opmap['LOAD_ATTR'] STORE_FAST = opmap['STORE_FAST'] LOAD_DEREF = opmap['LOAD_DEREF'] STORE_DEREF = opmap['STORE_DEREF'] CALL_FUNCTION = opmap['CALL_FUNCTION'] STORE_GLOBAL = opmap['STORE_GLOBAL'] DUP_TOP = opmap['DUP_TOP'] POP_TOP = opmap['POP_TOP'] NOP = opmap['NOP'] JUMP_FORWARD = opmap['JUMP_FORWARD'] ABSOLUTE_TARGET = dis.hasjabs def _oparg(code, opcode_pos): return code[opcode_pos+1] + (code[opcode_pos+2] << 8) def _bind_autosuper(func, cls): co = func.func_code name = func.func_name newcode = array('B', co.co_code) codelen = len(newcode) newconsts = list(co.co_consts) newvarnames = list(co.co_varnames) # Check if the global 'super' keyword is already present try: sn_pos = list(co.co_names).index('super') except ValueError: sn_pos = None # Check if the varname 'super' keyword is already present try: sv_pos = newvarnames.index('super') except ValueError: sv_pos = None # Check if the cellvar 'super' keyword is already present try: sc_pos = list(co.co_cellvars).index('super') except ValueError: sc_pos = None # If 'super' isn't used anywhere in the function, we don't have anything to do if sn_pos is None and sv_pos is None and sc_pos is None: return func c_pos = None s_pos = None n_pos = None # Check if the 'cls_name' and 'super' objects are already in the constants for pos, o in enumerate(newconsts): if o is cls: c_pos = pos if o is __super__: s_pos = pos if o == name: n_pos = pos # Add in any missing objects to constants and varnames if c_pos is None: c_pos = len(newconsts) newconsts.append(cls) if n_pos is None: n_pos = len(newconsts) newconsts.append(name) if s_pos is None: s_pos = len(newconsts) newconsts.append(__super__) if sv_pos is None: sv_pos = len(newvarnames) newvarnames.append('super') # This goes at the start of the function. It is: # # super = __super__(cls, self) # # If 'super' is a cell variable, we store to both the # local and cell variables (i.e. STORE_FAST and STORE_DEREF). # preamble = [ LOAD_CONST, s_pos & 0xFF, s_pos >> 8, LOAD_CONST, c_pos & 0xFF, c_pos >> 8, LOAD_FAST, 0, 0, CALL_FUNCTION, 2, 0, ] if sc_pos is None: # 'super' is not a cell variable - we can just use the local variable preamble += [ STORE_FAST, sv_pos & 0xFF, sv_pos >> 8, ] else: # If 'super' is a cell variable, we need to handle LOAD_DEREF. preamble += [ DUP_TOP, STORE_FAST, sv_pos & 0xFF, sv_pos >> 8, STORE_DEREF, sc_pos & 0xFF, sc_pos >> 8, ] preamble = array('B', preamble) # Bytecode for loading the local 'super' variable. load_super = array('B', [ LOAD_FAST, sv_pos & 0xFF, sv_pos >> 8, ]) preamble_len = len(preamble) need_preamble = False i = 0 while i < codelen: opcode = newcode[i] need_load = False remove_store = False if opcode == EXTENDED_ARG: raise TypeError("Cannot use 'super' in function with EXTENDED_ARG opcode") # If the opcode is an absolute target it needs to be adjusted # to take into account the preamble. elif opcode in ABSOLUTE_TARGET: oparg = _oparg(newcode, i) + preamble_len newcode[i+1] = oparg & 0xFF newcode[i+2] = oparg >> 8 # If LOAD_GLOBAL(super) or LOAD_NAME(super) then we want to change it into # LOAD_FAST(super) elif (opcode == LOAD_GLOBAL or opcode == LOAD_NAME) and _oparg(newcode, i) == sn_pos: need_preamble = need_load = True # If LOAD_FAST(super) then we just need to add the preamble elif opcode == LOAD_FAST and _oparg(newcode, i) == sv_pos: need_preamble = need_load = True # If LOAD_DEREF(super) then we change it into LOAD_FAST(super) because # it's slightly faster. elif opcode == LOAD_DEREF and _oparg(newcode, i) == sc_pos: need_preamble = need_load = True if need_load: newcode[i:i+3] = load_super i += 1 if opcode >= HAVE_ARGUMENT: i += 2 # No changes needed - get out. if not need_preamble: return func # Our preamble will have 3 things on the stack co_stacksize = max(3, co.co_stacksize) # Conceptually, our preamble is on the `def` line. co_lnotab = array('B', co.co_lnotab) if co_lnotab: co_lnotab += preamble_len co_lnotab = co_lnotab.tostring() # Our code consists of the preamble and the modified code. codestr = (preamble + newcode).tostring() codeobj = new.code(co.co_argcount, len(newvarnames), co_stacksize, co.co_flags, codestr, tuple(newconsts), co.co_names, tuple(newvarnames), co.co_filename, co.co_name, co.co_firstlineno, co_lnotab, co.co_freevars, co.co_cellvars) func.func_code = codeobj func.func_class = cls return func class autosuper_meta(type): def __init__(cls, name, bases, clsdict): UnboundMethodType = types.UnboundMethodType for v in vars(cls): o = getattr(cls, v) if isinstance(o, UnboundMethodType): _bind_autosuper(o.im_func, cls) class autosuper(object): __metaclass__ = autosuper_meta if __name__ == '__main__': class A(autosuper): def f(self): return 'A' class B(A): def f(self): return 'B' + super.f() class C(A): def f(self): def inner(): return 'C' + super.f() # Needed to put 'super' into a cell super = super return inner() class D(B, C): def f(self, arg=None): var = None return 'D' + super.f() assert D().f() == 'DBCA'
Disassembly of B.f and C.f reveals the different preambles used when
is simply a local variable compared to when it is used by an inner function.
>>> dis.dis(B.f) 214 0 LOAD_CONST 4 (<type 'super'>) 3 LOAD_CONST 2 (<class '__main__.B'>) 6 LOAD_FAST 0 (self) 9 CALL_FUNCTION 2 12 STORE_FAST 1 (super) 215 15 LOAD_CONST 1 ('B') 18 LOAD_FAST 1 (super) 21 LOAD_ATTR 1 (f) 24 CALL_FUNCTION 0 27 BINARY_ADD 28 RETURN_VALUE
>>> dis.dis(C.f) 218 0 LOAD_CONST 4 (<type 'super'>) 3 LOAD_CONST 2 (<class '__main__.C'>) 6 LOAD_FAST 0 (self) 9 CALL_FUNCTION 2 12 DUP_TOP 13 STORE_FAST 1 (super) 16 STORE_DEREF 0 (super) 219 19 LOAD_CLOSURE 0 (super) 22 LOAD_CONST 1 (<code object inner at 00C160A0, file "autosuper.py", line 219>) 25 MAKE_CLOSURE 0 28 STORE_FAST 2 (inner) 223 31 LOAD_FAST 1 (super) 34 STORE_DEREF 0 (super) 224 37 LOAD_FAST 2 (inner) 40 CALL_FUNCTION 0 43 RETURN_VALUE
Note that in the final implementation, the preamble would not be part of the bytecode of the method, but would occur immediately following unpacking of parameters.
Although its always attractive to just keep things how they are, people have sought a change in the usage of super calling for some time, and for good reason, all mentioned previously.
- Decoupling from the class name (which might not even be bound to the right class anymore!)
- Simpler looking, cleaner super calls would be better
Dynamic attribute on super type
The proposal adds a dynamic attribute lookup to the super type, which will automatically determine the proper class and instance parameters. Each super attribute lookup identifies these parameters and performs the super lookup on the instance, as the current super implementation does with the explicit invocation of a super instance upon a class and instance.
This proposal relies on sys._getframe(), which is not appropriate for anything except a prototype implementation.
This is nearly an anti-proposal, as it basically relies on the acceptance of the __this_class__ PEP, which proposes a special name that would always be bound to the class within which it is used. If that is accepted, __this_class__ could simply be used instead of the class’ name explicitly, solving the name binding issues .
The __super__ attribute is mentioned in this PEP in several places, and could be a candidate for the complete solution, actually using it explicitly instead of any super usage directly. However, double-underscore names are usually an internal detail, and attempted to be kept out of everyday code.
super(self, *args) or __super__(self, *args)
This solution only solves the problem of the type indication, does not handle differently named super methods, and is explicit about the name of the instance. It is less flexible without being able to enacted on other method names, in cases where that is needed. One use case this fails is where a base- class has a factory classmethod and a subclass has two factory classmethods, both of which needing to properly make super calls to the one in the base- class.
This variation actually eliminates the problems with locating the proper instance, and if any of the alternatives were pushed into the spotlight, I would want it to be this one.
super or super()
This proposal leaves no room for different names, signatures, or application to other classes, or instances. A way to allow some similar use alongside the normal proposal would be favorable, encouraging good design of multiple inheritance trees and compatible methods.
There has been the proposal that directly calling
super(*p, **kw) would
be equivalent to calling the method on the
super object with the same name
as the method currently being executed i.e. the following two methods would be
def f(self, *p, **kw): super.f(*p, **kw)
def f(self, *p, **kw): super(*p, **kw)
There is strong sentiment for and against this, but implementation and style concerns are obvious. Guido has suggested that this should be excluded from this PEP on the principle of KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid).
- 29-Apr-2007 - Changed title from “Super As A Keyword” to “New Super”
- Updated much of the language and added a terminology section for clarification in confusing places.
- Added reference implementation and history sections.
- 06-May-2007 - Updated by Tim Delaney to reflect discussions on the python-3000
- and python-dev mailing lists.
This document has been placed in the public domain.
Last modified: 2022-03-09 16:04:44 GMT