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8.10: Debugging

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  • It is legal to add attributes to objects at any point in the execution of a program, but if you are a stickler for type theory, it is a dubious practice to have objects of the same type with different attribute sets. It is usually a good idea to initialize all of an object’s attributes in the init method.

    If you are not sure whether an object has a particular attribute, you can use the built-in function hasattr (see Section 15.7).

    Another way to access the attributes of an object is through the special attribute __dict__, which is a dictionary that maps attribute names (as strings) and values:

    >>> p = Point(3, 4)
    >>> print p.__dict__
    {'y': 4, 'x': 3}

    For purposes of debugging, you might find it useful to keep this function handy:

    def print_attributes(obj):
        for attr in obj.__dict__:
            print attr, getattr(obj, attr)

    print_attributes traverses the items in the object’s dictionary and prints each attribute name and its corresponding value.

    The built-in function getattr takes an object and an attribute name (as a string) and returns the attribute’s value.

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