Fix Python – How is __eq__ handled in Python and in what order?

Question

Asked By – PyProg

Since Python does not provide left/right versions of its comparison operators, how does it decide which function to call?

class A(object):
    def __eq__(self, other):
        print "A __eq__ called"
        return self.value == other
class B(object):
    def __eq__(self, other):
        print "B __eq__ called"
        return self.value == other

>>> a = A()
>>> a.value = 3
>>> b = B()
>>> b.value = 4
>>> a == b
"A __eq__ called"
"B __eq__ called"
False

This seems to call both __eq__ functions.

I am looking for the official decision tree.

Now we will see solution for issue: How is __eq__ handled in Python and in what order?


Answer

The a == b expression invokes A.__eq__, since it exists. Its code includes self.value == other. Since int’s don’t know how to compare themselves to B’s, Python tries invoking B.__eq__ to see if it knows how to compare itself to an int.

If you amend your code to show what values are being compared:

class A(object):
    def __eq__(self, other):
        print("A __eq__ called: %r == %r ?" % (self, other))
        return self.value == other
class B(object):
    def __eq__(self, other):
        print("B __eq__ called: %r == %r ?" % (self, other))
        return self.value == other

a = A()
a.value = 3
b = B()
b.value = 4
a == b

it will print:

A __eq__ called: <__main__.A object at 0x013BA070> == <__main__.B object at 0x013BA090> ?
B __eq__ called: <__main__.B object at 0x013BA090> == 3 ?

This question is answered By – Ned Batchelder

This answer is collected from stackoverflow and reviewed by FixPython community admins, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5 , cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0