Should __init__() call the parent class's __init__()?


Question

I'm used that in Objective-C I've got this construct:

- (void)init {
    if (self = [super init]) {
        // init class
    }
    return self;
}

Should Python also call the parent class's implementation for __init__?

class NewClass(SomeOtherClass):
    def __init__(self):
        SomeOtherClass.__init__(self)
        # init class

Is this also true/false for __new__() and __del__()?

Edit: There's a very similar question: Inheritance and Overriding __init__ in Python

1
115
5/23/2017 12:02:56 PM

Accepted Answer

In Python, calling the super-class' __init__ is optional. If you call it, it is then also optional whether to use the super identifier, or whether to explicitly name the super class:

object.__init__(self)

In case of object, calling the super method is not strictly necessary, since the super method is empty. Same for __del__.

On the other hand, for __new__, you should indeed call the super method, and use its return as the newly-created object - unless you explicitly want to return something different.

61
1/3/2019 12:11:08 AM

If you need something from super's __init__ to be done in addition to what is being done in the current class's __init__, you must call it yourself, since that will not happen automatically. But if you don't need anything from super's __init__, no need to call it. Example:

>>> class C(object):
    def __init__(self):
        self.b = 1


>>> class D(C):
    def __init__(self):
        super().__init__() # in Python 2 use super(D, self).__init__()
        self.a = 1


>>> class E(C):
    def __init__(self):
        self.a = 1


>>> d = D()
>>> d.a
1
>>> d.b  # This works because of the call to super's init
1
>>> e = E()
>>> e.a
1
>>> e.b  # This is going to fail since nothing in E initializes b...
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<pyshell#70>", line 1, in <module>
    e.b  # This is going to fail since nothing in E initializes b...
AttributeError: 'E' object has no attribute 'b'

__del__ is the same way, (but be wary of relying on __del__ for finalization - consider doing it via the with statement instead).

I rarely use __new__. I do all the initialization in __init__.


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