__clrtype__ Metaclasses: Named Attribute Parameters

In my last post, I added support for custom attribute positional parameters . To finish things off, I need to add support for named parameters as well. Custom attributes support named parameters for public fields and settable properties. It works kind of like C# 3.0’s object initalizers. However, unlike object initalizers, the specific fields and properties to be set on a custom attribute as well as their values are passed to the CustomAttributeBuilder constructor. With six arguments – five of which are arrays – it’s kind of an ugly constructor. But luckily, we can hide it away in the make_cab function by using Python’s keyword arguments feature.

def make_cab(attrib_type, *args, **kwds):
  clrtype = clr.GetClrType(attrib_type)
  argtypes = tuple(map(lambda x:clr.GetClrType(type(x)), args))
  ci = clrtype.GetConstructor(argtypes)

  props = ([],[])
  fields = ([],[])

  for kwd in kwds:
    pi = clrtype.GetProperty(kwd)
    if pi is not None:
      fi = clrtype.GetField(kwd)
      if fi is not None:
        raise Exception, "No %s Member found on %s" % (kwd, clrtype.Name)

  return CustomAttributeBuilder(ci, args,
    tuple(props[0]), tuple(props[1]),
    tuple(fields[0]), tuple(fields[1]))

def cab_builder(attrib_type):
  return lambda *args, **kwds:make_cab(attrib_type, *args, **kwds)

You’ll notice that make_cab now takes a third parameter: the attribute type and the tuple of positional arguments we saw last post. This third parameter “**kwds” is a dictionary of named parameters. Python supports both positional and named parameter passing, like VB has for a while and C# will in 4.0. However, this **kwds parameter contains all the extra or leftover named parameters that were passed in but didn’t match any existing function arguments. Think of it like the params of named parameters.

As I wrote earlier, custom attributes support setting named values of both fields and properties. We don’t want the developer to have to know if given named parameter is a field or property, so make_cab iterates over all the named parameters, checking first to see if it’s a property then if it’s a field. It keeps a list of all the field / property infos as well as their associated values. Assuming all the named parameters are found, those lists are converted to tuples and passed into the CustomAttributeBuilder constructor.

In addition to the change to make_cab, I also updated cab_builder slightly in order to pass the **kwds parameter on thru to the make_cab function. No big deal. So now, I can add an attribute with named parameters to my IronPython class and it still looks a lot like a C# attribute specification.

from System.Xml.Serialization import XmlRootAttribute
from System import ObsoleteAttribute, CLSCompliantAttribute
Obsolete = cab_builder(ObsoleteAttribute)
CLSCompliant = cab_builder(CLSCompliantAttribute)
XmlRoot = cab_builder(XmlRootAttribute)

class Product(object):
  __metaclass__ = ClrTypeMetaclass
  _clrnamespace = "DevHawk.IronPython.ClrTypeSeries"
  _clrclassattribs = [
    Obsolete("Warning Lark's Vomit"),
    XmlRoot("product", Namespace="http://samples.devhawk.net")]

  # remainder of Product class omitted for clarity

As usual, sample code is up on my SkyDrive.

Now that I can support custom attributes on classes, it would be fairly straightforward to add them to methods, properties, etc as well. The hardest part at this point is coming up with a well designed API that works within the Python syntax. If you’ve got any opinions on that, feel free to share them in the comments, via email, or on the IronPython mailing list.