python vs example - Meaning of @classmethod and @staticmethod for beginner?





5 Answers

Rostyslav Dzinko's answer is very appropriate. I thought I could highlight one other reason you should choose @classmethod over @staticmethod when you are creating additional constructor.

In the example above, Rostyslav used the @classmethod from_string as a Factory to create Date objects from otherwise unacceptable parameters. The same can be done with @staticmethod as is shown in the code below:

class Date:
  def __init__(self, month, day, year):
    self.month = month
    self.day   = day
    self.year  = year


  def display(self):
    return "{0}-{1}-{2}".format(self.month, self.day, self.year)


  @staticmethod
  def millenium(month, day):
    return Date(month, day, 2000)

new_year = Date(1, 1, 2013)               # Creates a new Date object
millenium_new_year = Date.millenium(1, 1) # also creates a Date object. 

# Proof:
new_year.display()           # "1-1-2013"
millenium_new_year.display() # "1-1-2000"

isinstance(new_year, Date) # True
isinstance(millenium_new_year, Date) # True

Thus both new_year and millenium_new_year are instances of Date class.

But, if you observe closely, the Factory process is hard-coded to create Date objects no matter what. What this means is that even if the Date class is subclassed, the subclasses will still create plain Date object (without any property of the subclass). See that in the example below:

class DateTime(Date):
  def display(self):
      return "{0}-{1}-{2} - 00:00:00PM".format(self.month, self.day, self.year)


datetime1 = DateTime(10, 10, 1990)
datetime2 = DateTime.millenium(10, 10)

isinstance(datetime1, DateTime) # True
isinstance(datetime2, DateTime) # False

datetime1.display() # returns "10-10-1990 - 00:00:00PM"
datetime2.display() # returns "10-10-2000" because it's not a DateTime object but a Date object. Check the implementation of the millenium method on the Date class

datetime2 is not an instance of DateTime? WTF? Well that's because of the @staticmethod decorator used.

In most cases, this is undesired. If what you want is a Factory method that is aware of the class that called it, then @classmethod is what you need.

Rewriting the Date.millenium as (that's the only part of the above code that changes)

@classmethod
def millenium(cls, month, day):
    return cls(month, day, 2000)

ensures that the class is not hard-coded but rather learnt. cls can be any subclass. The resulting object will rightly be an instance of cls. Let's test that out.

datetime1 = DateTime(10, 10, 1990)
datetime2 = DateTime.millenium(10, 10)

isinstance(datetime1, DateTime) # True
isinstance(datetime2, DateTime) # True


datetime1.display() # "10-10-1990 - 00:00:00PM"
datetime2.display() # "10-10-2000 - 00:00:00PM"

The reason is, as you know by now, @classmethod was used instead of @staticmethod

instance when to

Could someone explain to me the meaning of @classmethod and @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 @classmethod or @staticmethod or any @ definitions?

tl;dr: when should I use them, why should I use them, and how should I use them?

I'm pretty advanced with C++, so using more advanced programming concepts shouldn't be a problem. Feel free giving me a corresponding C++ example if possible.




When to use each

@staticmethod function is nothing more than a function defined inside a class. It is callable without instantiating the class first. It’s definition is immutable via inheritance.

  • Python does not have to instantiate a bound-method for object.
  • It eases the readability of the code: seeing @staticmethod, we know that the method does not depend on the state of object itself;

@classmethod function also callable without instantiating the class, but its definition follows Sub class, not Parent class, via inheritance, can be overridden by subclass. That’s because the first argument for @classmethod function must always be cls (class).

  • Factory methods, that are used to create an instance for a class using for example some sort of pre-processing.
  • Static methods calling static methods: if you split a static methods in several static methods, you shouldn't hard-code the class name but use class methods

here is good link to this topic.




A little compilation

@staticmethod A way to write a method inside a class without reference to the object it is being called on. So no need to pass implicit argument like self or cls. It is written exactly the same how written outside the class, but it is not of no use in python because if you need to encapsulate a method inside a class since this method needs to be the part of that class @staticmethod is comes handy in that case.

@classmethod It is important when you want to write a factory method and by this custom attribute(s) can be attached in a class. This attribute(s) can be overridden in the inherited class.

A comparison between these two methods can be as below




I'm a beginner on this site, I have read all above answers, and got the information what I want. However, I don't have the right to upvote. So I want to get my start on with the answer as I understand it.

  • @staticmethod doesn't need self or cls as the first parameter of the method
  • @staticmethod and @classmethod wrapped function could be called by instance or class variable
  • @staticmethod decorated function impact some kind 'immutable property' that subclass inheritance can't overwrite its base class function which is wrapped by a @staticmethod decorator.
  • @classmethod need cls (Class name, you could change the variable name if you want, but it's not advised) as the first parameter of function
  • @classmethod always used by subclass manner, subclass inheritance may change the effect of base class function, i.e. @classmethod wrapped base class function could be overwritten by different subclasses.



In short, @classmehtod turns a normal method to a factory method.

Let's explore it with an example:

class PythonBook:
    def __init__(self, name, author):
        self.name = name
        self.author = author
    def __repr__(self):
        return f'Book: {self.name}, Author: {self.author}'

Without a @classmethod,you should labor to creat instances one by one and they are scartted.

book1 = PythonBook('Learning Python', 'Mark Lutz')
In [20]: book1
Out[20]: Book: Learning Python, Author: Mark Lutz
book2 = PythonBook('Python Think', 'Allen B Dowey')
In [22]: book2
Out[22]: Book: Python Think, Author: Allen B Dowey

As for example with @classmethod

class PythonBook:
    def __init__(self, name, author):
        self.name = name
        self.author = author
    def __repr__(self):
        return f'Book: {self.name}, Author: {self.author}'
    @classmethod
    def book1(cls):
        return cls('Learning Python', 'Mark Lutz')
    @classmethod
    def book2(cls):
        return cls('Python Think', 'Allen B Dowey')

Test it:

In [31]: PythonBook.book1()
Out[31]: Book: Learning Python, Author: Mark Lutz
In [32]: PythonBook.book2()
Out[32]: Book: Python Think, Author: Allen B Dowey

See? Instances are successfully created inside a class definition and they are collected together.

In conclusion, @classmethod decorator convert a conventional method to a factory method,Using classmethods makes it possible to add as many alternative constructors as necessary.




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