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auto-all

Automatically manage the __all__ variable in Python modules.

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Overview

auto_all can be used for controlling what is made available for import from a Python module.

Advantages:

  • Easily populate the __all__ variable in modules.
  • Easily exclude imported objects
  • Clearly differentiate between internal and external facing objects.
  • Use simple, intuitive code.
  • Never worry about forgetting to add new objects to __all__.
  • Help Python IDE's differentiate between internal and external facing objects.

Installation

pip install auto-all

Usage

There are two main approaches:

  1) Use `start_all` and `end_all` to wrap all public functions and
     variables.
  2) Use the `@public` decorator to identify publicly facing functions.

start_all/end_all approach

First, import the auto_all functions into your module.

from auto_all import start_all, end_all

If your module has external dependencies then these can be imported and the imported objects can be hidden. In this example we will import pathlib.Path and show that it doesn't appear on the __all__ list. We're not actually going to use this import, it's just for illustration.

from pathlib import Path

Now we can define some internal functions that we want to keep private. We can also do this using underscore prefixes, but auto_all gives us a little more granular control.

def a_private_function():
    print("This is a private function.")

Now we are ready to start defining public functions, so we use start_all().

start_all()

Now we can define our public functions.

def a_public_function():
    print("This is a public function.")

Finally we use end_all() to finish defining public functions and create the __all__ variable.

end_all()

When we look at the __all__ variable we can see only the public facing objects are listed.

>>> print(__all__)
['a_public_function']

Putting this all together, your module should look something like this:

from auto_all import start_all, end_all

from pathlib import Path

def a_private_function():
    print("This is a private function.")

start_all()

def a_public_function():
    print("This is a public function.")

end_all()

It is possible to pass the globals dict to the start_all and end_all function calls. This is not typically necessary, and is only included for backward compatibility.

start_all(globals())

def another_public_function():
    pass

end_all(globals())

def a_private_function():
    pass

print(__all__)

@public decorator approach

The second approach is to use the @public decorator. Note that this approach is only suitable for functions, and will not work for declaring classes or variables as public.

First, import the decorator:

from auto_all import public

We can define any private functions without any decorator:

def a_private_function():
    pass

We can define public functions by decorating with the @public decorator:

@public
def a_public_function():
    pass

The __all__ variable will only include functions that have been declared as public:

>>> print(__all__)
['a_public_function']

Combining the two approaches

In the event that you need to declare variables and classes as public, and also want to make use of the @public decorator for functions you can combine both methods.

Private variables can be defined outside the start/end block:

PRIVATE_VARIABLE = "I am private"

Public items can be defined between the start_all() and end_all() function calls:

start_all()
PUBLIC_VARIABLE = "I am public"
class PublicClass:
    pass
end_all()

Private functions can be defined undecorated outside the start/end block:

def private_function():
pass

Public functions can be decorated with the @public decorator:

@public
def public_function():
    pass

The __all__ variable will include any object declared between the start_all and end_all calls, and any function decorated with the @public decorator:

>>> print(__all__)
['PUBLIC_VARIABLE', 'PublicClass', 'public_function']

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Automatically manage the __all__ variable in Python modules.

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