Chained method calls indentation style in Python

Python Programming

Question or problem about Python programming:

From reading PEP-8, I get it that you should put the closing parenthesis on the same line as the last argument in function calls:


Probably, long expressions are best to avoid at all. But if it’s undesirable, how would you go about multiple chained method calls? Should the closing paren be on a new line?

).values_list('value', flat=True)

What about no-arguments methods? How to write them on multiple lines without referencing the intermediate return values?

    ).filter().values() # looks ugly

Update: There’s a duplicate question of How to break a line of chained methods in Python?. The accepted answer suggests a familiar from jQuery style of starting each new line with a dot. The author doesn’t provide any reasons or authoritative references, so I’d like to get a confirmation on such style or an alternative.

How to solve the problem:

Solution 1:

This is a case where a line continuation character is preferred to open parentheses.

ShortName.objects.distinct() \
         .filter().values()      # looks better

The need for this style becomes more obvious as method names get longer and as methods start taking arguments:

return some_collection.get_objects(locator=l5) \
                      .get_distinct(case_insensitive=True) \
                      .filter(predicate=query(q5)) \

PEP 8 is intend to be interpreted with a measure of common-sense and an eye for both the practical and the beautiful. Happily violate any PEP 8 guideline that results in ugly or hard to read code.

That being said, if you frequently find yourself at odds with PEP 8, it may be a sign that there are readability issues that transcend your choice of whitespace 🙂

Solution 2:

I think the best is to use () to force line joining, and to do this:

(ShortName.objects.distinct() # Look ma!
 .filter(product__photo__stickitem__isnull=False) # Comments are allowed
 .values_list('value', flat=True))

It’s not ideal, but I like that it stands out visually and makes it somewhat obvious what the chain of calls is. It allows end-of-line comments, which \ newline does not.

Hope this helps!