In our previous tutorial, we had a look at how to (de) serialise objects from and to JSON in Python. Now, let’s have a look into how to dynamically create and extend classes in Python. Basically, we are using the library that Python itself is using. This is the dynamic type function in Python. This function takes several parameters, we will only focus on three relevant one’s for our sample.

How to use the dynamic type function in Python

Basically, this function takes several parameters. We utilize 3 parameters. These are:

type(CLASS_NAME, INHERITS, PARAMETERS)

These parameters have the following meaning:

  • CLASS_NAME: The name of the new class
  • INHERITS: from which the new type should inherit
  • PARAMETERS: new methods or parameters added to the class

In our following example, we want to extend the Person class with a new attribute called “location”. We call our new class “PersonNew” and instruct Python to inherit from “Person”, which we have created some tutorials earlier. Strange is that it is passed as an array, even there can only be one inheritance hierarchy in Python. Last, we specify the method “location” as key-value pair. Our sample looks like the following:

pn = type("PersonNew", (Person,), {"location": "Vienna"})
pn.age = 35
pn.name = "Mario"

If you test the code, it will just work like expected. All other objects such as age and name can also be retrieved. Now, let’s make it a bit more complex. We extend our previous sample with the JSON serialisation to be capable of dynamically creating a JSON object from a string.

Dynamically creating a class in Python from JSON

We therefore create a new function that takes the object to serialise and takes all values out of that. In addition, we add one more key-value pair, which we call “__class__” in order to store the name of the class. getting the class-name is a bit more complex, since it is written like “class ‘main.PersonNew'”. Therefore, we first split the object name with a “.”, take the last entry and again split it by the ‘ and take the first one. There are more elegant ways for this, but I want to keep it simple. Once we have the classname, we store it in the dictionary and return the dictionary. The complex sample is here:

def map_proxy(obj):
    dict = {}
    
    for k in obj.__dict__.keys():
        dict.update({k : obj.__dict__.get(k)})
        
    cls_name = str(obj).split(".")[1].split("'")[0]
    dict.update({"__class__" : cls_name})
        
    return dict

We can now use the json.dumps method and call the map_proxy function to return the JSON string:

st_pn = json.dumps(map_proxy(pn))
print(st_pn)

Now, we are ready to dynamically create a new class with the “type” method. We name the method after the class name that was provided above. This can be retrieved with “__class__”. We let it inherit from Person and pass the parameters from the entire object into it, since it is already a key/value pair:

def dyn_create(obj):
    
    return type(obj["__class__"], (Person, ), obj)

We can now also invoke the json.loads method to dynamically create the class:

obj = json.loads(st_pn, object_hook=dyn_create)
print(obj)
print(obj.location)

And the output should be like that:

{"location": "Vienna", "__module__": "__main__", "__doc__": null, "age": 35, "name": "Mario", "__class__": "PersonNew"}
<class '__main__.PersonNew'>
Vienna

As you can see, it is very easy to dynamically create new classes in Python. We could largely improve this code, but i’ve created this tutorial for explanatory reasons rather than usability ;).

In our next tutorial, we will have a look at logging.

Here you can go to the overview of the Python tutorial. If you want to dig deeper into the language, have a look at the official Python documentation.

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