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Why does @foo.setter in Python not work for me?

Posted by: admin November 1, 2017 Leave a comment

Questions:

So, I’m playing with decorators in Python 2.6, and I’m having some trouble getting them to work. Here is my class file:

class testDec:

    @property
    def x(self): 
        print 'called getter'
        return self._x

    @x.setter
    def x(self, value): 
        print 'called setter'
        self._x = value

What I thought this meant is to treat x like a property, but call these functions on get and set. So, I fired up IDLE and checked it:

>>> from testDec import testDec
from testDec import testDec
>>> t = testDec()
t = testDec()
>>> t.x
t.x
called getter
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
  File "testDec.py", line 18, in x
    return self._x
AttributeError: testDec instance has no attribute '_x'
>>> t.x = 5
t.x = 5
>>> t.x
t.x
5

Clearly the first call works as expected, since I call the getter, and there is no default value, and it fails. OK, good, I understand. However, the call to assign t.x = 5 seems to create a new property x, and now the getter doesn’t work!

What am I missing?

Answers:

You seem to be using classic old-style classes. In order for properties to work correctly you need to use new-style classes instead (inherit from object). Just declare your class as MyClass(object):

class testDec(object):

    @property
    def x(self): 
        print 'called getter'
        return self._x

    @x.setter
    def x(self, value): 
        print 'called setter'
        self._x = value

It works:

>>> k = testDec()
>>> k.x
called getter
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
  File "/devel/class_test.py", line 6, in x
    return self._x
AttributeError: 'testDec' object has no attribute '_x'
>>> k.x = 5
called setter
>>> k.x
called getter
5
>>> 

Questions:
Answers:

Just a note for other people who stumble here looking for this exception: both functions need to have the same name. Naming the methods as follows will result in an exception:

@property
def x(self): pass

@x.setter
def x_setter(self, value): pass

Instead give both methods the same name

@property
def x(self): pass

@x.setter
def x(self, value): pass

Questions:
Answers:

You need to use new-style classes which you do by deriving your class from object:

class testDec(object):
   ....

Then it should work.

Questions:
Answers:

In case anybody comes here from google, in addition to the above answers I would like to add that this needs careful attention when invoking the setter from the __init__ method of your class based on this answer
Specifically:

class testDec(object):                                                                                                                                            

    def __init__(self, value):
        print 'We are in __init__'
        self.x = value # Will call the setter. Note just x here
        #self._x = value # Will not call the setter

    @property
    def x(self):
        print 'called getter'
        return self._x # Note the _x here

    @x.setter
    def x(self, value): 
        print 'called setter'
        self._x = value # Note the _x here

t = testDec(17)
print t.x 

Output:
We are in __init__
called setter
called getter
17