How to Retrieve Method Names in Python?

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Whether you’re debugging, logging, or working on introspection tasks, knowing how to extract a method’s name programmatically can be quite handy. This blog post will explore how to accomplish this in Python.

Method 1: Introspection

πŸ§‘β€πŸ’» Introspection in Python refers to the ability of a program to examine the type or properties of an object at runtime. The most straightforward approach to get the name of a method is by using the __name__ attribute. For example, obj.my_method.__name__ returns the string 'my_method'.

Every Python function and method has this special attribute that holds its name as a string. Here’s a simple example:

class MyClass:
    def my_method(self):
        pass

# Instantiate the class
obj = MyClass()

# Get the method name
method_name = obj.my_method.__name__
print(method_name)  # Output: 'my_method'

Method 2: Python ‘inspect’ Module

For more advanced introspection, Python’s inspect module is the go-to tool. It offers a wide range of functions to get detailed information about live objects, including methods.

To use inspect to get a method’s name, you can do the following:

import inspect

class MyClass:
    def my_method(self):
        pass

# Using inspect to get the method name
method_name = inspect.getmembers(MyClass, predicate=inspect.isfunction)

print(method_name)  
# Output: [('my_method', <function MyClass.my_method at 0x...>)]

This method not only retrieves the name but also provides the memory address, offering more insight into the method’s identity.

Practical Applications

  1. Debugging and Logging: Knowing the method name programmatically is useful in debugging and creating detailed logs.
  2. Dynamic Function Invocation: In advanced scenarios, you might want to invoke functions dynamically based on their names.
  3. Building Frameworks and Libraries: For developers building complex frameworks or libraries, introspection is key for flexibility and extensibility.

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