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Is it possible to make abstract classes in python?

Posted by: admin November 1, 2017 Leave a comment

Questions:

How can I make a class or method abstract in Python?

I tried redefining __new__() like so:

class F:
    def __new__(cls):
        raise Exception("Unable to create an instance of abstract class %s" %cls)

but now if I create a class G that inherits from F like so:

class G(F):
    pass

then I can’t instantiate G either, since it calls its super class’s __new__ method.

Is there a better way to define an abstract class?

Answers:

Use the abc module to create abstract classes. Use the abstractmethod decorator to declare a method abstract, and declare a class abstract using one of three ways, depending upon your Python version.

In Python 3.4 and above, you can inherit from ABC. In earlier versions of Python, you need to specify your class’s metaclass as ABCMeta. Specifying the metaclass has different syntax in Python 3 and Python 2. The three possibilities are shown below:

# Python 3.4+
from abc import ABC, abstractmethod
class Abstract(ABC):
    @abstractmethod
    def foo(self):
        pass
# Python 3.0+
from abc import ABCMeta, abstractmethod
class Abstract(metaclass=ABCMeta):
    @abstractmethod
    def foo(self):
        pass
# Python 2
from abc import ABCMeta, abstractmethod
class Abstract:
    __metaclass__ = ABCMeta

    @abstractmethod
    def foo(self):
        pass

Whichever way you use, you won’t be able to instantiate an abstract class that has abstract methods, but will be able to instantiate a subclass that provides concrete definitions of those methods:

>>> Abstract()
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
TypeError: Can't instantiate abstract class Abstract with abstract methods foo
>>> class StillAbstract(Abstract):
...     pass
... 
>>> StillAbstract()
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
TypeError: Can't instantiate abstract class StillAbstract with abstract methods foo
>>> class Concrete(Abstract):
...     def foo(self):
...         print('Hello, World')
... 
>>> Concrete()
<__main__.Concrete object at 0x7fc935d28898>

Questions:
Answers:

The old-school (pre-PEP 3119) way to do this is just to raise NotImplementedError in the abstract class when an abstract method is called.

class Abstract(object):
    def foo(self):
        raise NotImplementedError('subclasses must override foo()!')

class Derived(Abstract):
    def foo(self):
        print 'Hooray!'

>>> d = Derived()
>>> d.foo()
Hooray!
>>> a = Abstract()
>>> a.foo()
Traceback (most recent call last): [...]

This doesn’t have the same nice properties as using the abc module does. You can still instantiate the abstract base class itself, and you won’t find your mistake until you call the abstract method at runtime.

But if you’re dealing with a small set of simple classes, maybe with just a few abstract methods, this approach is a little easier than trying to wade through the abc documentation.

Questions:
Answers:

Try this one will be work in python 3

from abc import ABCMeta, abstractmethod

class Abstract(metaclass=ABCMeta):

    @abstractmethod
    def foo(self):
        pass

Abstract()
>>> TypeError: Can not instantiate abstract class Abstract with abstract methods foo

Questions:
Answers:

Yes, you can create abstract classes in python with the abc (abstract base classes) module.

This site will help you with it: http://docs.python.org/2/library/abc.html

Questions:
Answers:

In your code snippet, you could also resolve this by providing an implementation for the __new__ method in the subclass, likewise:

def G(F):
    def __new__(cls):
        # do something here

But this is a hack and I advise you against it, unless you know what you are doing. For nearly all cases I advise you to use the abc module, that others before me have suggested.

Also when you create a new (base) class, make it subclass object, like this: class MyBaseClass(object):. I don’t know if it is that much significant anymore, but it helps retain style consistency on your code

Questions:
Answers:

Just a quick addition to @TimGilbert’s old-school answer…you can make your abstract base class’s init() method throw an exception and that would prevent it from being instantiated, no?

>>> class Abstract(object):
...     def __init__(self):
...         raise NotImplementedError("You can't instantiate this class!")
...
>>> a = Abstract()
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
  File "<stdin>", line 3, in __init__
NotImplementedError: You can't instantiate this class!