Skip to main content
Engineering LibreTexts

15.5: Objects are mutable

  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)\(\newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    You can change the state of an object by making an assignment to one of its attributes. For example, to change the size of a rectangle without changing its position, you can modify the values of width and height:

    box.width = box.width + 50
    box.height = box.height + 100

    You can also write functions that modify objects. For example, grow_rectangle takes a Rectangle object and two numbers, dwidth and dheight, and adds the numbers to the width and height of the rectangle:

    def grow_rectangle(rect, dwidth, dheight):
        rect.width += dwidth
        rect.height += dheight

    Here is an example that demonstrates the effect:

    >>> box.width, box.height
    (150.0, 300.0)
    >>> grow_rectangle(box, 50, 100)
    >>> box.width, box.height
    (200.0, 400.0)

    Inside the function, rect is an alias for box, so when the function modifies rect, box changes.

    As an exercise, write a function named move_rectangle that takes a Rectangle and two numbers named dx and dy. It should change the location of the rectangle by adding dx to the x coordinate of corner and adding dy to the y coordinate of corner.

    This page titled 15.5: Objects are mutable is shared under a CC BY-NC 3.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Allen B. Downey (Green Tea Press) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

    • Was this article helpful?