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Python Enhancement Proposals

PEP 705 – TypedMapping: Type Hints for Mappings with a Fixed Set of Keys

Alice Purcell <alicederyn at>
Pablo Galindo <pablogsal at>
Discourse thread
Standards Track
30-Sep-2022, 02-Nov-2022, 14-Mar-2023

Table of Contents


PEP 589 defines the structural type TypedDict for dictionaries with a fixed set of keys. As TypedDict is a mutable type, it is difficult to correctly annotate methods which accept read-only parameters in a way that doesn’t prevent valid inputs. This PEP proposes a type constructor typing.TypedMapping to support this use case.


Representing structured data using (potentially nested) dictionaries with string keys is a common pattern in Python programs. PEP 589 allows these values to be type checked when the exact type is known up-front, but it is hard to write read-only code that accepts more specific variants: for instance, where fields may be subtypes or restrict a union of possible types. This is an especially common issue when writing APIs for services, which may support a wide range of input structures, and typically do not need to modify their input.

For illustration, we will try to add type hints to a function movie_string:

def movie_string(movie: Movie) -> str:
    if movie.get("year") is None:
        return movie["name"]
        return f'{movie["name"]} ({movie["year"]})'

We could define this Movie type using a TypedDict:

from typing import NotRequired, TypedDict

class Movie(TypedDict):
    name: str
    year: NotRequired[int | None]

But suppose we have another type where year is required:

class MovieRecord(TypedDict):
    name: str
    year: int

Attempting to pass a MovieRecord into movie_string results in the error (using mypy):

Argument 1 to "movie_string" has incompatible type "MovieRecord"; expected "Movie"

This particular use case should be type-safe, but the type checker correctly stops the user from passing a MovieRecord into a Movie parameter in the general case, because the Movie class has mutator methods that could potentially allow the function to break the type constraints in MovieRecord (e.g. with movie["year"] = None or del movie["year"]). The problem disappears if we don’t have mutator methods in Movie. This could be achieved by defining an immutable interface using a PEP 544 Protocol:

from typing import Literal, Protocol, overload

class Movie(Protocol):
    def get(self, key: Literal["name"]) -> str: ...

    def get(self, key: Literal["year"]) -> int | None: ...

    def __getitem__(self, key: Literal["name"]) -> str: ...

    def __getitem__(self, key: Literal["year"]) -> int | None: ...

This is very repetitive, easy to get wrong, and is still missing important method definitions like __contains__() and keys().


The proposed TypedMapping type allows a straightforward way of defining these types that should be familiar to existing users of TypedDict and support the cases exemplified above:

from typing import NotRequired, TypedMapping

class Movie(TypedMapping):
    name: str
    year: NotRequired[int | None]

In addition to those benefits, by flagging arguments of a function as TypedMapping, it makes explicit not just to typecheckers but also to users that the function is not going to modify its inputs, which is usually a desirable property of a function interface. Finally, this allows bringing the benefits of TypedDict to other mapping types that are unrelated to dict.


A TypedMapping type defines a protocol with the same methods as Mapping, but with value types determined per-key as with TypedDict.

Notable similarities to TypedDict:

  • A TypedMapping protocol can be declared using class-based or alternative syntax.
  • Keys must be strings.
  • By default, all specified keys must be present in a TypedMapping instance. It is possible to override this by specifying totality, or by using NotRequired from PEP 655.
  • Methods are not allowed in the declaration (though they may be inherited).

Notable differences from TypedDict:

  • The runtime type of a TypedMapping object is not constrained to be a dict.
  • No mutator methods (__setitem__, __delitem__, update, etc.) will be generated.
  • The | operator is not supported.
  • A class definition defines a TypedMapping protocol if and only if TypedMapping appears directly in its class bases.
  • Subclasses can narrow value types, in the same manner as other protocols.

As with PEP 589, this PEP provides a sketch of how a type checker is expected to support type checking operations involving TypedMapping and TypedDict objects, but details are left to implementors. In particular, type compatibility should be based on structural compatibility.

Multiple inheritance and TypedDict

A type that inherits from a TypedMapping protocol and from TypedDict (either directly or indirectly):

  • is the structural intersection of its parents, or invalid if no such intersection exists
  • instances must be a dict subclass
  • adds mutator methods only for fields it explicitly (re)declares

For example:

class Movie(TypedMapping):
    name: str
    year: int | None

class MovieRecord(Movie, TypedDict):
    year: int

movie: MovieRecord = { "name": "Blade Runner",
                       "year": 1982 }

movie["year"] = 1985  # Fine; mutator methods added in definition
movie["name"] = "Terminator"  # Type check error; "name" mutator not declared

Inheriting, directly or indirectly, from both TypedDict and Protocol will continue to fail at runtime, and should continue to be rejected by type checkers.

Multiple inheritance and Protocol

  • A type that inherits from a TypedMapping protocol and from a Protocol protocol must satisfy the protocols defined by both, but is not itself a protocol unless it inherits directly from TypedMapping or Protocol.
  • A type that inherits from a TypedMapping protocol and from Protocol itself is configured as a Protocol. Methods and properties may be defined; keys may not:
    class A(Movie, Protocol):
        # Declare a mutable property called 'year'
        # This does not affect the dictionary key 'year'
        year: str
  • A type that inherits from a Protocol protocol and from TypedMapping itself is configured as a TypedMapping. Keys may be defined; methods and properties may not:
    class B(A, TypedMapping):
        # Declare a key 'year'
        # This does not affect the property 'year'
        year: int

Type consistency rules

Informally speaking, type consistency is a generalization of the is-subtype-of relation to support the Any type. It is defined more formally in PEP 483. This section introduces the new, non-trivial rules needed to support type consistency for TypedMapping types.

First, any TypedMapping type is consistent with Mapping[str, object]. Second, a TypedMapping or TypedDict type A is consistent with TypedMapping B if A is structurally compatible with B. This is true if and only if both of these conditions are satisfied:

  • For each key in A, B has the corresponding key and the corresponding value type in B is consistent with the value type in A.
  • For each required key in A, the corresponding key is required in B.


  • Value types behave covariantly, since TypedMapping objects have no mutator methods. This is similar to container types such as Mapping, and different from relationships between two TypedDict types. Example:
    class A(TypedMapping):
        x: int | None
    class B(TypedDict):
        x: int
    def f(a: A) -> None:
        print(a['x'] or 0)
    b: B = {'x': 0}
    f(b)  # Accepted by type checker
  • A TypedDict or TypedMapping type with a required key is consistent with a TypedMapping type where the same key is a non-required key, again unlike relationships between two TypedDict types. Example:
    class A(TypedMapping, total=False):
        x: int
    class B(TypedDict):
        x: int
    def f(a: A) -> None:
        print(a.get('x', 0))
    b: B = {'x': 0}
    f(b)  # Accepted by type checker
  • A TypedMapping type A with no key 'x' is not consistent with a TypedMapping type with a non-required key 'x', since at runtime the key 'x' could be present and have an incompatible type (which may not be visible through A due to structural subtyping). This is the same as for TypedDict types. Example:
    class A(TypedMapping, total=False):
        x: int
        y: int
    class B(TypedMapping, total=False):
        x: int
    class C(TypedMapping, total=False):
        x: int
        y: str
    def f(a: A) -> None:
        print(a.get('y') + 1)
    def g(b: B) -> None:
        f(b)  # Type check error: 'B' incompatible with 'A'
    c: C = {'x': 0, 'y': 'foo'}
    g(c)  # Runtime error: str + int
  • A TypedMapping with all int values is not consistent with Mapping[str, int], since there may be additional non-int values not visible through the type, due to structural subtyping. This mirrors TypedDict. Example:
    class A(TypedMapping):
        x: int
    class B(TypedMapping):
        x: int
        y: str
    def sum_values(m: Mapping[str, int]) -> int:
        return sum(m.values())
    def f(a: A) -> None:
        sum_values(a)  # Type check error: 'A' incompatible with Mapping[str, int]
    b: B = {'x': 0, 'y': 'foo'}
    f(b)  # Runtime error: int + str

Backwards Compatibility

This PEP changes the rules for how TypedDict behaves (allowing subclasses to inherit from TypedMapping protocols in a way that changes the resulting overloads), so code that inspects TypedDict types will have to change. This is expected to mainly affect type-checkers.

The TypedMapping type will be added to the typing_extensions module, enabling its use in older versions of Python.

Security Implications

There are no known security consequences arising from this PEP.

How to Teach This

Class documentation should be added to the typing module’s documentation, using that for Mapping, Protocol and TypedDict as examples. Suggested introductory sentence: “Base class for read-only mapping protocol classes.”

This PEP could be added to the others listed in the typing module’s documentation.

Reference Implementation

No reference implementation exists yet.

Rejected Alternatives

Several variations were considered and discarded:

  • A readonly parameter to TypedDict, behaving much like TypedMapping but with the additional constraint that instances must be dictionaries at runtime. This was discarded as less flexible due to the extra constraint; additionally, the new type nicely mirrors the existing Mapping/Dict types.
  • Inheriting from a TypedMapping subclass and TypedDict resulting in mutator methods being added for all fields, not just those actively (re)declared in the class body. Discarded as less flexible, and not matching how inheritance works in other cases for TypedDict (e.g. total=False and total=True do not affect fields not specified in the class body).
  • A generic type that removes mutator methods from its parameter, e.g. Readonly[MovieRecord]. This would naturally want to be defined for a wider set of types than just TypedDict subclasses, and also raises questions about whether and how it applies to nested types. We decided to keep the scope of this PEP narrower.
  • Declaring methods directly on a TypedMapping class. Methods are a kind of property, but declarations on a TypedMapping class are defining keys, so mixing the two is potentially confusing. Banning methods also makes it very easy to decide whether a TypedDict subclass can mix in a protocol or not (yes if it’s just TypedMapping superclasses, no if there’s a Protocol).


Last modified: 2023-03-17 18:43:16 GMT