Each attrs-decorated class has a __attrs_attrs__ class attribute. It is a tuple of attr.Attribute carrying meta-data about each attribute.

So it is fairly simple to build your own decorators on top of attrs:

>>> import attr
>>> def print_attrs(cls):
...     print(cls.__attrs_attrs__)
>>> @print_attrs
... @attr.s
... class C(object):
...     a = attr.ib()
(Attribute(name='a', default=NOTHING, validator=None, repr=True, cmp=True, hash=None, init=True, convert=None, metadata=mappingproxy({}), type=None),)


The attr.s() decorator must be applied first because it puts __attrs_attrs__ in place! That means that is has to come after your decorator because:

def f():

is just syntactic sugar for:

def original_f():

f = a(b(original_f))

Wrapping the Decorator

A more elegant way can be to wrap attrs altogether and build a class DSL on top of it.

An example for that is the package environ_config that uses attrs under the hood to define environment-based configurations declaratively without exposing attrs APIs at all.


attrs offers two ways of attaching type information to attributes:

  • PEP 526 annotations on Python 3.6 and later,
  • and the type argument to attr.ib().

This information is available to you:

>>> import attr
>>> @attr.s
... class C(object):
...     x: int = attr.ib()
...     y = attr.ib(type=str)
>>> attr.fields(C).x.type
<class 'int'>
>>> attr.fields(C).y.type
<class 'str'>

Currently, attrs doesn’t do anything with this information but it’s very useful if you’d like to write your own validators or serializers!


If you’re the author of a third-party library with attrs integration, you may want to take advantage of attribute metadata.

Here are some tips for effective use of metadata:

  • Try making your metadata keys and values immutable. This keeps the entire Attribute instances immutable too.

  • To avoid metadata key collisions, consider exposing your metadata keys from your modules.:

    from mylib import MY_METADATA_KEY
    class C(object):
      x = attr.ib(metadata={MY_METADATA_KEY: 1})

    Metadata should be composable, so consider supporting this approach even if you decide implementing your metadata in one of the following ways.

  • Expose attr.ib wrappers for your specific metadata. This is a more graceful approach if your users don’t require metadata from other libraries.

    >>> MY_TYPE_METADATA = '__my_type_metadata'
    >>> def typed(cls, default=attr.NOTHING, validator=None, repr=True, cmp=True, hash=None, init=True, convert=None, metadata={}):
    ...     metadata = dict() if not metadata else metadata
    ...     metadata[MY_TYPE_METADATA] = cls
    ...     return attr.ib(default, validator, repr, cmp, hash, init, convert, metadata)
    >>> @attr.s
    ... class C(object):
    ...     x = typed(int, default=1, init=False)
    >>> attr.fields(C).x.metadata[MY_TYPE_METADATA]
    <class 'int'>