attrs comes with first class support for type annotations for both Python 3.6 (PEP 526) and legacy syntax.
On Python 3.6 and later, you can even drop the
attr.ibs if you’re willing to annotate all attributes.
That means that on modern Python versions, the declaration part of the example from the README can be simplified to:
>>> import attr >>> import typing >>> @attr.s(auto_attribs=True) ... class SomeClass: ... a_number: int = 42 ... list_of_numbers: typing.List[int] = attr.Factory(list) >>> sc = SomeClass(1, [1, 2, 3]) >>> sc SomeClass(a_number=1, list_of_numbers=[1, 2, 3]) >>> attr.fields(SomeClass).a_number.type <class 'int'>
You will still need
attr.ib for advanced features, but not for the common cases.
One of those features are the decorator-based features like defaults.
It’s important to remember that
attrs doesn’t do any magic behind your back.
All the decorators are implemented using an object that is returned by the call to
Attributes that only carry a class annotation do not have that object so trying to call a method on it will inevitably fail.
Please note that types – however added – are only metadata that can be queried from the class and they aren’t used for anything out of the box!
Because Python does not allow references to a class object before the class is defined,
types may be defined as string literals, so-called forward references.
Also, starting in Python 3.10 (PEP 526) all annotations will be string literals.
When this happens,
attrs will simply put these string literals into the
If you need to resolve these to real types, you can call
attr.resolve_types which will update the attribute in place.
While having a nice syntax for type metadata is great, it’s even greater that mypy as of 0.570 ships with a dedicated
attrs plugin which allows you to statically check your code.
Imagine you add another line that tries to instantiate the defined class using
Mypy will catch that error for you:
$ mypy t.py t.py:12: error: Argument 1 to "SomeClass" has incompatible type "str"; expected "int"
This happens without running your code!
And it also works with both Python 2-style annotation styles. To mypy, this code is equivalent to the one above:
@attr.s class SomeClass(object): a_number = attr.ib(default=42) # type: int list_of_numbers = attr.ib(factory=list, type=typing.List[int])
The addition of static types is certainly one of the most exciting features in the Python ecosystem and helps you writing correct and verified self-documenting code.
If you don’t know where to start, Carl Meyer gave a great talk on Type-checked Python in the Real World at PyCon US 2018 that will help you to get started in no time.