How do I extend a python module? Adding new functionality to the `python-twitter` package


What are the best practices for extending an existing Python module – in this case, I want to extend the python-twitter package by adding new methods to the base API class.

I’ve looked at tweepy, and I like that as well; I just find python-twitter easier to understand and extend with the functionality I want.

I have the methods written already – I’m trying to figure out the most Pythonic and least disruptive way to add them into the python-twitter package module, without changing this modules’ core.

Asked By: user319045



Don’t add them to the module. Subclass the classes you want to extend and use your subclasses in your own module, not changing the original stuff at all.

Answered By: Mike Graham

A few ways.

The easy way:

Don’t extend the module, extend the classes.

import twitter

class Api(twitter.Api):
    # override/add any functions here.

Downside : Every class in twitter must be in, even if it’s just a stub (as above)

A harder (possibly un-pythonic) way:

Import * from python-twitter into a module that you then extend.

For instance :

 class Ball():
    def __init__(self,a):
    def __repr__(self):
        return "Ball(%s)" % self.a

def makeBall(a):
    return Ball(a)

def override():
    print "OVERRIDE ONE"

def dontoverride():

from basemodule import *
import basemodule

def makeBalls(a,b):
    foo = makeBall(a)
    bar = makeBall(b)
    print foo,bar

def override():
    print "OVERRIDE TWO"

def dontoverride():

import extmodule

#code is in extended module
print extmodule.makeBalls(1,2)
#returns Ball(1) Ball(2)

#code is in base module
print extmodule.makeBall(1)
#returns Ball(1)

#function from extended module overwrites base module

#function from extended module calls base module first

I’m not sure if the double import in is pythonic – you could remove it, but then you don’t handle the usecase of wanting to extend a function that was in the namespace of basemodule.

As far as extended classes, just create a new API(basemodule.API) class to extend the Twitter API module.

Answered By: Rizwan Kassim

May I suggest not to reinvent the Wheel here? I’m building a >6k line Twitter Client for 2 month now, at first I checked python-twitter too, but it’s lagging a lot behind the recent API changes,, Development doesn’t seem to be that active either, also there was(at least when I last checked) no support for OAuth/xAuth).

So after searching around a bit more I discovered tweepy:

Pros: Active development, OAauth/xAuth and up to date with the API.
Chances are high that what you need is already in there.

So I suggest going with that, it’s working for me, the only thing I had to add was xAuth(that got merge back to tweepy 🙂

Oh an a shameless plug, if you need to parse Tweets and/or format them to HTML use my python version of the twitter-text-* libraries:

This thing is unittestetd an guaranteed to parse Tweets just like does it.

Answered By: Ivo Wetzel

Say you have an older module called mod that you use like this:

import mod

obj = mod.Object()
# and so on...

And you want to extend it, without replacing it for your users. Easily done. You can give your new module a different name, or place it by same name at a deeper path and keep the same name, e.g. /path/to/ Then your users can import it in either of these ways:

import newmod as mod       # e.g. import unittest2 as unittest idiom from Python 2.6


from import mod    # useful in a large code-base

In your module, you’ll want to make all the old names available:

from mod import *

or explicitly name every name you import:

from mod import Object, function, name2, name3, name4, name5, name6, name7, name8, name9, name10, name11, name12, name13, name14, name15, name16, name17, name18, name19, name20, name21, name22, name23, name24, name25, name26, name27, name28, name29, name30, name31, name32, name33, name34, name35, name36, name37, name38, name39

I think the import * will be more maintainable for this use-case – if the base module expands functionality, you’ll seamlessly keep up (though you might shade new objects with the same name).

If the mod you are extending has a decent __all__, it will restrict the names imported.

You should also declare an __all__ and extend it with the extended module’s __all__.

import mod
__all__ = ['NewObject', 'newfunction']
__all__ += mod.__all__   
# if it doesn't have an __all__, maybe it's not good enough to extend
# but it could be relying on the convention of import * not importing
# names prefixed with underscores, (_like _this)

Then extend the objects and functionality as you normally would.

class NewObject(object):
    def newmethod(self):
        """this method extends Object"""

def newfunction():
    """this function builds on mod's functionality"""

If the new objects provide functionality you intend to replace (or perhaps you are backporting the new functionality into an older code base) you can overwrite the names

Here’s how you can directly manipulate the module list at runtime – spoiler alert: you get the module type from types module:

from __future__ import print_function
import sys
import types
import typing as tx

def modulize(namespace: tx.Dict[str, tx.Any],
             modulename: str,
             moduledocs: tx.Optional[str] = None) -> types.ModuleType:

    """ Convert a dictionary mapping into a legit Python module """

    # Create a new module with a trivially namespaced name:
    namespacedname: str = f'__dynamic_modules__.{modulename}'
    module = types.ModuleType(namespacedname, moduledocs)

    # Inspect the new module:
    name: str = module.__name__
    doc: tx.Optional[str] = module.__doc__
    contents: str = ", ".join(sorted(module.__dict__.keys()))
    print(f"Module name:      {name}")
    print(f"Module contents:  {contents}")
    if doc:
        print(f"Module docstring: {doc}")

    # Add to sys.modules, as per import machinery:
    sys.modules.update({ modulename : module })

    # Return the new module instance:
    return module

… you could then use such a function like so:

ns = {
         'func' : lambda: print("Yo Dogg"), # these can also be normal non-lambda funcs
    'otherfunc' : lambda string=None: print(string or 'no dogg.'),
      '__all__' : ('func', 'otherfunc'),
      '__dir__' : lambda: ['func', 'otherfunc'] # usually this’d reference __all__

modulize(ns, 'wat', "WHAT THE HELL PEOPLE")
import wat

# Call module functions:
wat.otherfunc("Oh, Dogg!")

# Inspect module:
contents = ", ".join(sorted(wat.__dict__.keys()))
print(f"Imported module name:      {wat.__name__}")
print(f"Imported module contents:  {contents}")
print(f"Imported module docstring: {wat.__doc__}")

… You could also create your own module subclass, by specifying types.ModuleType as the ancestor of your newly declared class, of course; I have never personally found this necessary to do.

(Also, you don’t have to get the module type from the types module – you can always just do something like ModuleType = type(os) after importing os – I specifically pointed out this one source of the type because it is non-obvious; unlike many of its other builtin types, Python doesn’t offer up access to the module type in the global namespace.)

The real action is in the sys.modules dict, where (if you are appropriately intrepid) you can replace existing modules as well as adding your new ones.

Answered By: fish2000

Define a new class, and instead of inherit it from the class you want to extend from the original module, add an instance of the original class as an attribute to your new class.
And here comes the trick: intercept all non-existing method calls on your new class and try to call it on the instance of the old class.
In your NewClass just define new or overridden methods as you like:

import originalmodule

class NewClass:
    def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
        self.old_class_instance = originalmodule.create_oldclass_instance(*args, **kwargs)

    def __getattr__(self, methodname):
        """This is a wrapper for the original OldClass class.

        If the called method is not part of this NewClass class,
        the call will be intercepted and replaced by the method
        in the original OldClass instance.
        def wrapper(*args, **kwargs):
            return getattr(self.old_class_instance, methodname)(*args, **kwargs)
        return wrapper

    def new_method(self, arg1):
        """Does stuff with the OldClass instance"""
        thing = self.old_class_instance.get_somelist(arg1)
        # returns the first element only
        return thing[0]

    def overridden_method(self):
        """Overrides an existing method, if OldClass has a method with the same name"""
        print("This message is coming from the NewClass and not from the OldClass")

In my case I used this solution when simple inheritance from the old class was not possible, because an instance had to be created not by its constructor, but with an init script from an other class/module. (It is the originalmodule.create_oldclass_instance in the example above.)

Answered By: gOldie_E36