Friday, June 22, 2018

Type Hinting Edge Case

Warning. I'm new to this. Yes, my book Functional Python Programming -- 2nd ed -- is full of type hints. But my examples are all (intentionally) relatively simple. There are edge cases that I do not pretend to understand.

Here's a fun one. Start here

This is a cool question.

Here's an essential clarification on what this structure is.

This is tricky and I think there are two reasons why it's hard.
1. We want to specify some details internal to instances of the np.array class.
2. We want to provide a size constraint, something that I don't think typing can do.

The size constraint may be handled by using Tuple, but it doesn't really fit in a general way. This three-tuple is Tuple[float, float, float]. You can see how that rapidly gets hideous for higher-dimension objects. You'd want Tuple[float*3], right?

The internal constraint, similarly, is challenging. However. An np.array() -- for the most part -- is a Sequence with extra features.

I have a suggestion.

1. A stubs/ file with this. I think this characterizes the array structure.

from typing import TypeVar, Sequence

_Base = TypeVar("_Base")

def array(*args: Sequence[_Base]) -> Sequence[_Base]: ...

2. Here's the target function.

import numpy as np
from typing import Sequence

Vector3 = Sequence[float]

def vec3(x: float, y: float, z: float) -> Vector3:
    return np.array((x, y, z))

This seems to capture part of the type definition. It doesn't capture the 3-ness of the vector.