Difference between staticmethod and classmethod?

Difference between staticmethod and classmethod?

  1. Question by Daryl Spitzer
  2. Answer by Mike T and ubuntu
  3. Answer by Brian Burns and Thomas Wouters
  4. Answer by Milovan Tomašević

Question by Daryl Spitzer

What is the difference between a function decorated with @staticmethod and one decorated with @classmethod?

Answer by Mike T and ubuntu

Maybe a bit of example code will help: Notice the difference in the call signatures of foo, class_foo and static_foo:

class A(object):
    def foo(self, x):
        print(f"executing foo({self}, {x})")

    def class_foo(cls, x):
        print(f"executing class_foo({cls}, {x})")

    def static_foo(x):
        print(f"executing static_foo({x})")

a = A()

Below is the usual way an object instance calls a method. The object instance, a, is implicitly passed as the first argument.

# executing foo(<__main__.A object at 0xb7dbef0c>, 1)

With classmethods, the class of the object instance is implicitly passed as the first argument instead of self.

# executing class_foo(<class '__main__.A'>, 1)

You can also call class_foo using the class. In fact, if you define something to be a classmethod, it is probably because you intend to call it from the class rather than from a class instance. A.foo(1) would have raised a TypeError, but A.class_foo(1) works just fine:

# executing class_foo(<class '__main__.A'>, 1)

One use people have found for class methods is to create inheritable alternative constructors.

With staticmethods, neither self (the object instance) nor cls (the class) is implicitly passed as the first argument. They behave like plain functions except that you can call them from an instance or the class:

# executing static_foo(1)

# executing static_foo(hi)

Staticmethods are used to group functions which have some logical connection with a class to the class.

foo is just a function, but when you call a.foo you don’t just get the function, you get a “partially applied” version of the function with the object instance a bound as the first argument to the function. foo expects 2 arguments, while a.foo only expects 1 argument.

a is bound to foo. That is what is meant by the term “bound” below:

# <bound method A.foo of <__main__.A object at 0xb7d52f0c>>

With a.class_foo, a is not bound to class_foo, rather the class A is bound to class_foo.

# <bound method type.class_foo of <class '__main__.A'>>

Here, with a staticmethod, even though it is a method, a.static_foo just returns a good ‘ole function with no arguments bound. static_foo expects 1 argument, and a.static_foo expects 1 argument too.

# <function static_foo at 0xb7d479cc>

And of course the same thing happens when you call static_foo with the class A instead.

# <function static_foo at 0xb7d479cc>

Answer by Brian Burns and Thomas Wouters

A staticmethod is a method that knows nothing about the class or instance it was called on. It just gets the arguments that were passed, no implicit first argument. It is basically useless in Python – you can just use a module function instead of a staticmethod.

A classmethod, on the other hand, is a method that gets passed the class it was called on, or the class of the instance it was called on, as first argument. This is useful when you want the method to be a factory for the class: since it gets the actual class it was called on as first argument, you can always instantiate the right class, even when subclasses are involved. Observe for instance how dict.fromkeys(), a classmethod, returns an instance of the subclass when called on a subclass:

>>> class DictSubclass(dict):
...     def __repr__(self):
...         return "DictSubclass"
>>> dict.fromkeys("abc")
{'a': None, 'c': None, 'b': None}
>>> DictSubclass.fromkeys("abc")

Answer by Milovan Tomašević

Instance Method:

+ Can modify object instance state

+ Can modify class state

Class Method:

- Can’t modify object instance state

+ Can modify class state

Static Method:

- Can’t modify object instance state

- Can’t modify class state

class MyClass:
    Instance method has a mandatory first attribute self which represent the instance itself. 
    Instance method must be called by a instantiated instance.
    def method(self):
        return 'instance method called', self
    Class method has a mandatory first attribute cls which represent the class itself. 
    Class method can be called by an instance or by the class directly. 
    Its most common using scenario is to define a factory method.
    def class_method(cls):
        return 'class method called', cls
    Static method doesn’t have any attributes of instances or the class. 
    It also can be called by an instance or by the class directly. 
    Its most common using scenario is to define some helper or utility functions which are closely relative to the class.
    def static_method():
        return 'static method called'

obj = MyClass()
print(obj.class_method()) # MyClass.class_method()
print(obj.static_method()) # MyClass.static_method()


('instance method called', <__main__.MyClass object at 0x100fb3940>)
('class method called', <class '__main__.MyClass'>)
static method called

The instance method we actually had access to the object instance , right so this was an instance off a my class object whereas with the class method we have access to the class itself. But not to any of the objects, because the class method doesn’t really care about an object existing. However you can both call a class method and static method on an object instance. This is going to work it doesn’t really make a difference, so again when you call static method here it’s going to work and it’s going to know which method you want to call.

The Static methods are used to do some utility tasks, and class methods are used for factory methods. The factory methods can return class objects for different use cases.

And finally, a short example for better understanding:

class Student:
    def __init__(self, first_name, last_name):
        self.first_name = first_name
        self.last_name = last_name

    def get_from_string(cls, name_string: str):
        first_name, last_name = name_string.split()
        if Student.validate_name(first_name) and Student.validate_name(last_name):
            return cls(first_name, last_name)
            print('Invalid Names')

    def validate_name(name):
        return len(name) <= 10

stackoverflow_student = Student.get_from_string('Name Surname')
print(stackoverflow_student.first_name) # Name
print(stackoverflow_student.last_name) # Surname

Improve this page: 

Share on:      

Comments 💬