Python – Why is __init__() always called after __new__()

class-designdesign-patternspython

I'm just trying to streamline one of my classes and have introduced some functionality in the same style as the flyweight design pattern.

However, I'm a bit confused as to why __init__ is always called after __new__. I wasn't expecting this. Can anyone tell me why this is happening and how I can implement this functionality otherwise? (Apart from putting the implementation into the __new__ which feels quite hacky.)

Here's an example:

class A(object):
    _dict = dict()

    def __new__(cls):
        if 'key' in A._dict:
            print "EXISTS"
            return A._dict['key']
        else:
            print "NEW"
            return super(A, cls).__new__(cls)

    def __init__(self):
        print "INIT"
        A._dict['key'] = self
        print ""

a1 = A()
a2 = A()
a3 = A()

Outputs:

NEW
INIT

EXISTS
INIT

EXISTS
INIT

Why?

Best Solution

Use __new__ when you need to control the creation of a new instance.

Use __init__ when you need to control initialization of a new instance.

__new__ is the first step of instance creation. It's called first, and is responsible for returning a new instance of your class.

In contrast, __init__ doesn't return anything; it's only responsible for initializing the instance after it's been created.

In general, you shouldn't need to override __new__ unless you're subclassing an immutable type like str, int, unicode or tuple.

From April 2008 post: When to use __new__ vs. __init__? on mail.python.org.

You should consider that what you are trying to do is usually done with a Factory and that's the best way to do it. Using __new__ is not a good clean solution so please consider the usage of a factory. Here's a good example: ActiveState Fᴀᴄᴛᴏʀʏ ᴘᴀᴛᴛᴇʀɴ Recipe.