Getter and Setter in Python
In Python, getters and setters are not the same as those in other object-oriented programming languages. Basically, the main purpose of using getters and setters in object-oriented programs is to ensure data encapsulation. Private variables in python are not actually hidden fields like in other object oriented languages. Getters and Setters in python are often used when:
- We use getters & setters to add validation logic around getting and setting a value.
- To avoid direct access of a class field i.e. private variables cannot be accessed directly or modified by external user.
Using normal function to achieve getters and setters behaviour
To achieve getters & setters property, if we define normal
set() methods it will not reflect any special implementation. For Example
In above code functions
set_age() acts as normal functions and doesn’t play any impact as getters and setters, to achieve such functionality Python has a special function
Using property() function to achieve getters and setters behaviour
property()is a built-in function that creates and returns a property object. A property object has three methods, getter(), setter(), and delete().
property() function in Python has four arguments
property(fget, fset, fdel, doc),
fget is a function for retrieving an attribute value.
fset is a function for setting an attribute value.
fdel is a function for deleting an attribute value.
doc creates a docstring for attribute. A property object has three methods,
delete() to specify
fdel individually. For Example
setter method called getter method called 10
In above code there is only one print statement at
line #25 but output consists of three lines due to setter method
set_age() called in
line #23 and getter method
get_age() called in
line #25. Hence
age is a property object that helps to keep the access of private variable safe.
Using @property decorators to achieve getters and setters behaviour
In previous method we used
property() function in order to achieve getters and setters behaviour. However as mentioned earlier in this post getters and setters are also used for validating the getting and setting of attributes value. There is one more way to implement property function i.e. by using decorator. Python @property is one of the built-in decorators. The main purpose of any decorator is to change your class methods or attributes in such a way so that the user of your class no need to make any change in their code. For Example
setter method called getter method called 19
In above code it is clear that how to use
@property decorator to create getters & setters in pythonic way.
Line 15-16 acts as a validation code that raises a
ValueError if we try to initialize age with value less than 18, In this way any kind of validation can be applied in getter or setter functions .