Is there a simple, elegant way to define singletons?


Question

There seem to be many ways to define singletons in Python. Is there a consensus opinion on Stack Overflow?

1
418
2/7/2017 7:44:17 PM

Accepted Answer

I don't really see the need, as a module with functions (and not a class) would serve well as a singleton. All its variables would be bound to the module, which could not be instantiated repeatedly anyway.

If you do wish to use a class, there is no way of creating private classes or private constructors in Python, so you can't protect against multiple instantiations, other than just via convention in use of your API. I would still just put methods in a module, and consider the module as the singleton.

339
3/13/2016 8:44:16 PM

Here's my own implementation of singletons. All you have to do is decorate the class; to get the singleton, you then have to use the Instance method. Here's an example:

@Singleton
class Foo:
   def __init__(self):
       print 'Foo created'

f = Foo() # Error, this isn't how you get the instance of a singleton

f = Foo.instance() # Good. Being explicit is in line with the Python Zen
g = Foo.instance() # Returns already created instance

print f is g # True

And here's the code:

class Singleton:
    """
    A non-thread-safe helper class to ease implementing singletons.
    This should be used as a decorator -- not a metaclass -- to the
    class that should be a singleton.

    The decorated class can define one `__init__` function that
    takes only the `self` argument. Also, the decorated class cannot be
    inherited from. Other than that, there are no restrictions that apply
    to the decorated class.

    To get the singleton instance, use the `instance` method. Trying
    to use `__call__` will result in a `TypeError` being raised.

    """

    def __init__(self, decorated):
        self._decorated = decorated

    def instance(self):
        """
        Returns the singleton instance. Upon its first call, it creates a
        new instance of the decorated class and calls its `__init__` method.
        On all subsequent calls, the already created instance is returned.

        """
        try:
            return self._instance
        except AttributeError:
            self._instance = self._decorated()
            return self._instance

    def __call__(self):
        raise TypeError('Singletons must be accessed through `instance()`.')

    def __instancecheck__(self, inst):
        return isinstance(inst, self._decorated)

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