Code Introspection in Python

Python : Code Introspection

Code introspection is a powerful feature in Python that allows us to inspect the code at runtime. It provides various functions and methods that can help us understand the code better and debug it more efficiently

In this tutorial, we will cover the basics of code introspection and explore some of the most commonly used functions and methods.

dir() function:

  • The dir() function returns a list of attributes and methods associated with an object.
  • It is useful for exploring the properties of built-in objects or user-defined classes.
my_list = [1, 2, 3]

To see the available methods and attributes of the list object, we can use the dir() function: This will output a list of available methods and attributes associated with the list object.

type() function:

  • The type() function returns the data type of an object.
  • It is useful for verifying the type of an object before performing operations on it.
my_list = [1, 2, 3]
# This will output: <class 'list'>

help() function:

  • The help() function is used to access the documentation and information about a specific object or module.
  • It provides a detailed description of the object or module and its associated methods and attributes.
  • For example, to access the documentation for the list object, we can use the help() function:
my_list = [1, 2, 3]
# This will output the documentation for the list object.

inspect module:

  • The inspect module provides functions for analyzing and examining the structure of Python objects.
  • It can be used to access the source code of functions, classes, and modules, as well as retrieve information about function arguments and return values.
  • For example, we can use the inspect module to retrieve information about the arguments of a function:
import inspect

def my_function(arg1, arg2):

# This will output:
# ArgSpec(args=['arg1', 'arg2'], varargs=None, keywords=None, defaults=None)

doc attribute:

  • The doc attribute is used to access the docstring of a function or class.
  • A docstring is a string that appears as the first statement in a function or class definition and provides a description of the object
def my_function(arg1, arg2):
    """This function takes two arguments and returns their sum"""
    return arg1 + arg2


# output: This function takes two arguments and returns their sum

  • Code introspection is a powerful tool that can help developers to better understand and analyze their code.
  • By using the functions and features provided by Python, we can gain valuable insights into the behavior and structure of our code, as well as troubleshoot and debug errors.