Is it not possible to define multiple constructors in Python? [duplicate]
If your signatures differ only in the number of arguments, using default arguments is the right way to do it. If you want to be able to pass in different kinds of argument, I would try to avoid the
isinstance-based approach mentioned in another answer, and instead use keyword arguments.
If using just keyword arguments becomes unwieldy, you can combine it with classmethods (the bzrlib code likes this approach). This is just a silly example, but I hope you get the idea:
class C(object): def __init__(self, fd): # Assume fd is a file-like object. self.fd = fd def fromfilename(cls, name): return cls(open(name, 'rb'))# Now you can do:c = C(fd)# or:c = C.fromfilename('a filename')
Notice all those classmethods still go through the same
__init__, but using classmethods can be much more convenient than having to remember what combinations of keyword arguments to
isinstance is best avoided because Python's duck typing makes it hard to figure out what kind of object was actually passed in. For example: if you want to take either a filename or a file-like object you cannot use
isinstance(arg, file), because there are many file-like objects that do not subclass
file (like the ones returned from urllib, or StringIO, or...). It's usually a better idea to just have the caller tell you explicitly what kind of object was meant, by using different keyword arguments.
For the example you gave, use default values:
class City: def __init__(self, name="Default City Name"): ... ...
In general, you have two options:
elif blocks based on the type:
def __init__(self, name): if isinstance(name, str): ... elif isinstance(name, City): ... ...
2) Use duck typing --- that is, assume the user of your class is intelligent enough to use it correctly. This is typically the preferred option.