Python Best Practice Patterns by Vladimir Keleshev (Notes)

These are my notes from Vladimir Keleshev's talk entitled "Python Best Practice Patterns", given on May 2, 2013 at the Python Meetup in Denmark. The original video is here (about 38 minutes long).

Note: Some of the code examples have been has been modified from the original presentation based on readers' feedback.

Composed method

  • Divide program into methods that perform one task
    • Keep all operation in a method at the same level of abstraction
  • Use many methods only a few lines long

  • Different levels of abstraction: bitmaps, filesystem operations, playing sounds...

  • safety_check deals with temp and pressure
  • alarm deals with files and sound
  • pressure deals with bits and converting them

Constructor method

  • provide constructors that create well-formed instances
    • Pass all required parameters to them
  • Can use class methods to make multiple constructors
    • Example: Using Cartesian or polar coordinates

Method objects

  • How do you code a method where many lines of code share many arguments and temporary variables?
  • Can't be solved by making many small methods (would use more code)

Execute around method (in Python: Context manager)

  • How do you represent pairs of actions that should be taken together?

Debug printing method

  • __str__ for users
    • e.g. print(point)
  • __repr__ for debugging/interactive mode

Method comment

  • small methods can be more effective than comments

Choosing message

Intention revealing message

  • How do you communicate your intent when implementation is simple?
  • Use for methods that do the same thing (for readability)

Constant method (constant class variable)

  • Depends if you are designing to make your class subclassable

Direct and indirect variable access

  • Direct
    • no need for getters and setters

Enumeration (iteration) method

Temporary variable


  • Can often use sets instead of combination of for loops

Equality method

  • Probably the only case to check isinstance()

Hashing method

Sorted collection


Simple enumeration parameter

  • When you can't come up with an iteration param that makes sense, just use each


  • Instead of writing methods without return values, make them return self
    • allows cascading of methods

Interesting return value

  • Explicit better than implicit
  • Include return value if it's interesting (even if it's None)

Further reading


March 14, 2014: Fix conditional in Composed Method section. Thanks Rufus Smith.

February 28, 2014: __eq__ returns NotImplemented to avoid asymmetric comparison. Thanks Daniel Smith.

February 28, 2014: Removed enumerate usage in "Interesting Return Value" section. Thanks Hugh Brown and Paul Winkler.

September 5, 2013: Fixed error in Sorted Collection. Thanks Frank Sievertsen.

September 4, 2013: Fixed typo in Choosing Message gist. instanceof() should be isinstance(). Thanks to richardborcsik for catching this.

July 30, 2013: Fixed typo in Sorted Collection gist. __lt__(self, other) needs two arguments. Thanks to Tiago Oliveira for catching this.

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