In this tutorial, we’ll explain Python object-oriented (OOP) concepts. You’ll learn – what is a Python class, how to create and use it in programs. You’ll also get to know how inheritance works in Python, how does it deal with multiple-inheritance and what is operator overloading?
Python Class – Introduction
- 1 Can I use OOP with Python?
- 2 What is a Python class?
- 3 Give an example of a Python Class
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Can I use OOP with Python?
Yes, Python supports object-oriented programming (OOP). OOP is a development model which lets a programmer focus on producing reusable code. It is different from the procedural model which follows a sequential approach.
OOP is useful when you have a large and complicated project to work. There will be multiple programmers creating reusable code, sharing and integrating their source code. Reusability results in greater readability and reduces maintenance in the longer term.
What is a Python class?
A class is an arrangement of variables and functions into a single logical entity. It works as a template for creating objects. Every object can use class variables and functions as its members.
Python has a reserved keyword known as “class” which you can use to define a new class.
The object is a working instance of a class created at runtime.
How to create a class in Python?
There are some terms which you need to know while working with classes in Python.
1. The “class” keyword
2. The instance attributes
3. The class attributes
4. The “self” keyword
5. The “__init_” method
Let’s now have a clear understanding of each of the above points one by one.
The “class” keyword
With the class keyword, we can create a Python class as shown in the example below.
class BookStore: pass
The instance attributes
These are object-specific attributes defined as parameters to the __init__ method. Each object can have different values for themselves.
In the below example, the “attrib1” and “attrib2” are the instance attributes.
class BookStore: def __init__(self, attrib1, attrib2): self.attrib1 = attrib1 self.attrib2 = attrib2
The class attributes
Unlike the instance attributes which are visible at object-level, the class attributes remain the same for all objects.
Check out the below example to demonstrate the usage of class-level attributes.
class BookStore: instances = 0 def __init__(self, attrib1, attrib2): self.attrib1 = attrib1 self.attrib2 = attrib2 BookStore.instances += 1 b1 = BookStore("", "") b2 = BookStore("", "") print("BookStore.instances:", BookStore.instances)
In this example, the “instances” is a class-level attribute. You can access it using the class name. It holds the total no. of instances created.
We’ve created two instances of the class <Bookstore>. Hence, executing the example should print “2” as the output.
# output BookStore.instances: 2
What is self?
Python provides the “self” keyword to represent the instance of a class. It works as a handle for accessing the class members such as attributes from the class methods.
Also, please note that it is implicitly the first argument to the __init__ method in every Python class.
What is __init__? Or What is a constructor in Python?
The “__init__()” is a unique method associated with every Python class.
Python calls it automatically for every object created from the class. Its purpose is to initialize the class attributes with user-supplied values.
It is commonly known as Constructor in object-oriented programming.
Give an example of a Python Class
Given here is an example where we are building a BookStore class and instantiating its object with different values.
Create a BookStore class in Python
class BookStore: noOfBooks = 0 def __init__(self, title, author): self.title = title self.author = author BookStore.noOfBooks += 1 def bookInfo(self): print("Book title:", self.title) print("Book author:", self.author,"\n") # Create a virtual book store b1 = BookStore("Great Expectations", "Charles Dickens") b2 = BookStore("War and Peace", "Leo Tolstoy") b3 = BookStore("Middlemarch", "George Eliot") # call member functions for each object b1.bookInfo() b2.bookInfo() b3.bookInfo() print("BookStore.noOfBooks:", BookStore.noOfBooks)
You can open IDLE or any other Python IDE, save the above code in some file, and execute the program.
In this example, we have created three objects of the BookStore class, i.e., b1, b2, and b3. Each of the objects is an instance of the BookStore class.
UML diagram of BookStore class in Python
The UML diagram of the above code is as follows.
After executing the code in the example, you should see the following result.
# output Book title: Great Expectations Book author: Charles Dickens Book title: War and Peace Book author: Leo Tolstoy Book title: Middlemarch Book author: George Eliot BookStore.noOfBooks: 3
You might have observed from the above example that we’ve used a few keywords like “self” and “__init__.”
Quick wrap up – Python Class and Object-Oriented Programming
In this tutorial, we covered “Python Class” which is the basis of object-oriented programming in Python. Hence, it is utmost necessary that you are aware of how the classes work in Python.