Style guide for python code

Coding conventions for the python code of all MMC components


A lot of MMC components are written in Python, among them the MMC agent and its python plugins.

This document sets the coding conventions for the Python code of all MMC components.

This document is totally based on Guido Van Rossum “Style Guide for ython Code” document (see you must read it too. This document only emphases on important coding conventions.

Code layout

Indentation: use 4 spaces per indentation level, no tabs allowed. It’s ok with Emacs Python mode.

Encoding: the source code must always use the UTF-8 encoding.

Whitespace in Expressions and Statements

Yes: spam(ham[1], {eggs: 2})
No:  spam( ham[ 1 ], { eggs: 2 } )
Yes: if x == 4: print x, y; x, y = y, x
No:  if (x == 4): print x, y; x, y = y, x
No:  if x == 4 : print x , y ; x , y = y , x
Yes: spam(1)
No:  spam (1)
Yes: dict['key'] = list[index]
No:  dict \['key'] = list \[index]
x = 1
y = 2
long_variable = 3
x             = 1
y             = 2
long_variable = 3

Naming conventions

Module name: short, lowercase names, without underscores

Class Names: CapitalizedWords

Functions Names: mixedCase for instance method, lower_case_with_underscores for other.



They are written in english.

They always start with a capitalized first word.

There is always a space between the # and the begin of the comment.


All modules, functions and classes must have a docstring.

The docstring must be written in the Epytext Markup Language format. We use epydoc to generate the API documentation. See and for more information.

The recommanded epydoc fields are:

def foo(a, b, c):
    This methods performs funny things.
    @param a: first parameter of foo
    @type a: int
    @param b: second parameter of foo
    @type b: str
    @param c: third parameter of foo
    @type c: unicode
    @raise ExceptionFoo: raised if b == 'bar'
    @rtype: int
    @return: the result should be 42


  • Sometimes the method description can be written in @return if the function is simple.
  • If you skip @param because the parameter name seems really explicit to you, use at least: @rtype and @return
  • Please use a spellchecker for your docstrings

Python module import rules

from mod import * is forbidden, because it doesn’t allow us to track module dependencies effectively.

The import order should be:

# Import standard python module
import os
import sys
# Import external modules (SQLAlchemy, Twisted, python-ldap, etc.)
from sqlalchemy.orm import create_session
# Import internal modules
from mmc.plugins.base import ...

SQLAlchemy code convention

Querying with the ORM

Here are the recommended code guidelines when querying using the ORM:

  • First select the objects you want as a result:

    results = session.query(Table1).add_entity(Table2).add_entity(...)

    If your query will return more than one row, please call the query “results”, or “rows”. If you are querying for one object only, please use a variable name corresponding to this object.

  • Then if needed perform a join between the tables. It is usually done using join in a select_from expression

  • Then add filter expressions to filter down the query:

    .filter(Table1.num == 42)
    .filter(Table2.num == -42)

    Please use “Table1.num” instead of “table1.c.num”, because it’s more pythonish.

  • At least add the query limit:


    .all() # .first() .one(), or count()

Here is the complete query code:

results = session.query(Table1).add_entity(Table2).add_entity(...)
.filter(Table1.num == 42)
.filter(Table2.num == -42)
# Also accepted
results = session.query(Table1).add_entity(Table2).add_entity(...)
filter(Table1.num == 42)
filter(Table2.num == -42)
# Also accepted
results = session.query(Table1).add_entity(Table2).add_entity(...)
results = results.select_from(table1.join(table2).join(...))
results = results.filter(Table1.num == 42)
results = results.filter(Table2.num == -42)
results = results.all()

If you’re looking for one result only (e.g. to get the properties of an object or check its existence) please use “one()” instead of “first()”. “one()” will raise an exception if no object or more than one objects if returned, and so it forces you to deal with the exception.

Tools to check Python code

Use the pyflakes tool to check your code. The code must be fixed if these messages are displayed:

  • “import * used; unable to detect undefined names”
  • “‘x’ undefined variable”
  • “‘x’ imported but unused”

Python language version compatibility

The code must be compatible with Python 2.5. That’s a rather old version, but we never had any problems that forced us to use a newer version.

Python additional library compatibility

The code must be compatible with these library versions:

  • Python Twisted: 8.1.0
  • Python LDAP: 2.0
  • Python SQLAlchemy: 0.5