Here we look at a number of patterns you can implement with Reg.


What if we wanted to add a feature that required multiple methods, not just one? You can use the adapter pattern for this.

Let’s imagine we have a feature to get the icon for a content object in our CMS, and that this consists of two methods, with a way to get a small icon and a large icon. We want this API:

from abc import ABCMeta, abstractmethod

class Icon(object):
    __metaclass__ = ABCMeta
    def small(self):
        """Get the small icon."""

    def large(self):
        """Get the large icon."""

We define Document and Image content classes:

class Document(object):
   def __init__(self, text):
       self.text = text

class Image(object):
    def __init__(self, bytes):
        self.bytes = bytes

Let’s implement the Icon API for Document:

def load_icon(path):
    return path  # pretend we load the path here and return an image obj

class DocumentIcon(Icon):
   def __init__(self, document):
      self.document = document

   def small(self):
      if not self.document.text:
          return load_icon('document_small_empty.png')
      return load_icon('document_small.png')

   def large(self):
      if not self.document.text:
          return load_icon('document_large_empty.png')
      return load_icon('document_large.png')

The constructor of DocumentIcon receives a Document instance as its first argument. The implementation of the small and large methods uses this instance to determine what icon to produce depending on whether the document is empty or not.

We can call DocumentIcon an adapter, as it adapts the original Document class to provide an icon API for it. We can use it manually:

>>> doc = Document("Hello world")
>>> icon_api = DocumentIcon(doc)
>>> icon_api.small()
>>> icon_api.large()

But we want to be able to use the Icon API generically, so let’s create a generic function that gives us an implementation of Icon back for any object:

import reg

def icon(obj):
    raise NotImplementedError

We can now register the DocumentIcon adapter class for this function and Document:

icon.register(DocumentIcon, obj=Document)

We can now use the generic icon to get Icon API for a document:

>>> api = icon(doc)
>>> api.small()
>>> api.large()

We can also register a FolderIcon adapter for Folder, a ImageIcon adapter for Image, and so on. For the sake of brevity let’s just define one for Image here:

class ImageIcon(Icon):
    def __init__(self, image):
        self.image = image

    def small(self):
        return load_icon('image_small.png')

    def large(self):
        return load_icon('image_large.png')

icon.register(ImageIcon, obj=Image)

Now we can use icon to retrieve the Icon API for any item in the system for which an adapter was registered:

>>> icon(doc).small()
>>> icon(doc).large()
>>> image = Image('abc')
>>> icon(image).small()
>>> icon(image).large()

Service Discovery

Some applications need configurable services. The application may for instance need a way to send email, but you don’t want to hardcode any particular way into your app, but instead leave this to a particular deployment-specific configuration. You can use the Reg infrastructure for this as well.

The simplest way to do this with Reg is by using a generic service lookup function:

def emailer():
    raise NotImplementedError

Here we’ve created a generic function that takes no arguments (and thus does no dynamic dispatch). But you can still plug its actual implementation into the registry from elsewhere:

sent = []

def send_email(sender, subject, body):
    # some specific way to send email
    sent.append((sender, subject, body))

def actual_emailer():
    return send_email


Now when we call emailer, we’ll get the specific service we want:

>>> the_emailer = emailer()
>>> the_emailer('', 'Hello', 'hello world!')
>>> sent
[('', 'Hello', 'hello world!')]

In this case we return the function send_email from the emailer() function, but we could return any object we want that implements the service, such as an instance with a more extensive API.

Replacing class methods

Reg generic functions can be used to replace methods, so that you can follow the open/closed principle and add functionality to a class without modifying it. This works for instance methods, but what about classmethod? This takes the class as the first argument, not an instance. You can configure @reg.dispatch decorator with a special Predicate instance that lets you dispatch on a class argument instead of an instance argument.

Here’s what it looks like:

def something(cls):
    raise NotImplementedError()

Note the call to match_class() here. This lets us specify that we want to dispatch on the class, in this case we simply want the cls argument.

Let’s use it:

def something_for_object(cls):
    return "Something for %s" % cls

something.register(something_for_object, cls=object)

class DemoClass(object):

When we now call something() with DemoClass as the first argument we get the expected output:

>>> something(DemoClass)
"Something for <class 'DemoClass'>"

This also knows about inheritance. So, you can write more specific implementations for particular classes:

class ParticularClass(object):

def something_particular(cls):
    return "Particular for %s" % cls


When we call something now with ParticularClass as the argument, then something_particular is called:

>>> something(ParticularClass)
"Particular for <class 'ParticularClass'>"