In a post I wrote yesterday, I mentioned a way to run "experimental" code containing non-standard Python syntax (e.g. new keywords, not recognized by Python's interpreter) by using an "import hook" to convert the code into a proper Python syntax prior to executing it. One caveat of the approach I used was that it only worked if the "experimental" code was imported. This restriction is also present in the MacroPy project (which is something I stumbled upon and is definitely a much more substantial project than the little toy I created.)
Today, I have a new version that can effectively be run from the command line. (I believe that the approach I use could also work for the MacroPy project). This is version 4 found in this github repository.
I will start with a concrete example taken from the repository (file test.py); the code below contains keywords and constructs that are definitely not valid in Python.
'''This is not a valid Python module as it contains two non-standard keywords: repeat and function. However, by using a custom importer, and the presence of the special import line below, these non-standard keywords will be converted into valid Python syntax prior to execution. ''' from __experimental__ import repeat_keyword, function_keyword # magic! :-) def normal_syntax(): '''Creates the list [4, 4, 4] by using the normal Python syntax, with a for loop and a lambda-defined function. ''' res =  g = lambda x: x**2 for _ in range(3): res.append(g(2)) return res def experimental_syntax(): '''Creates the list [4, 4, 4] by using an experimental syntax with the keywords "repeat" and "function", otherwise using the same algorithm as the function called "normal_syntax". ''' res =  g = function x: x**2 repeat 3: res.append(g(2)) return res if __name__ == '__main__': if normal_syntax() == experimental_syntax(): print("Success") else: print("Failure")
If you try to run this program from the command line using "python test.py" at your command/shell prompt ... it will definitely fail. However, using the code from the repository, you can run it via "python import_experimental.py test". The code inside import_experimental.py, which has many more comments than I would normally write, is the following:
''' A custom Importer making use of the import hook capability https://www.python.org/dev/peps/pep-0302/ Its purpose is to convert would-be Python module that use non-standard syntax into a correct form prior to importing them. ''' # imp is deprecated but I wasn't (yet) able to figure out how to use # its replacement, importlib, to accomplish all that is needed here. import imp import re import sys MAIN = False from_experimental = re.compile("(^from\s+__experimental__\s+import\s+)") class ExperimentalImporter(object): '''According to PEP 302, an importer only requires two methods: find_module and load_module. ''' def find_module(self, name, path=None): '''We don't need anything special here, so we just use the standard module finder which, if successful, returns a 3-element tuple (file, pathname, description). See https://docs.python.org/3/library/imp.html for details ''' self.module_info = imp.find_module(name) return self def load_module(self, name): '''Load a module, given information returned by find_module(). ''' # According to PEP 302, the following is required # if reload() is to work properly if name in sys.modules: return sys.modules[name] path = self.module_info # see find_module docstring above module = None if path is not None: # path=None is the case for some stdlib modules with open(path) as source_file: module = self.convert_experimental(name, source_file.read()) if module is None: module = imp.load_module(name, *self.module_info) return module def convert_experimental(self, name, source): '''Used to convert the source code, and create a new module if one of the lines is of the form ^from __experimental__ import converter1 [, converter2, ...] (where ^ indicates the beginning of a line) otherwise returns None and lets the normal import take place. Note that this special code must be all on one physical line -- no continuation allowed by using parentheses or the special \ end of line character. "converters" are modules which must contain a function transform_source_code(source) which returns a tranformed source. ''' global MAIN lines = source.split('\n') for linenumber, line in enumerate(lines): if from_experimental.match(line): break else: return None # normal importer will handle this # we started with: "from __experimental__ import converter1 [,...]" line = from_experimental.sub(' ', line) # we now have: "converter1 [,...]" line = line.split("#") # remove any end of line comments converters = line.replace(' ', '').split(',') # and now: ["converter1", ...] # drop the "fake" import from the source code del lines[linenumber] source = '\n'.join(lines) for converter in converters: mod_name = __import__(converter) source = mod_name.transform_source_code(source) module = imp.new_module(name) # From PEP 302: Note that the module object must be in sys.modules # before the loader executes the module code. # This is crucial because the module code may # (directly or indirectly) import itself; # adding it to sys.modules beforehand prevents unbounded # recursion in the worst case and multiple loading in the best. sys.modules[name] = module if MAIN: # see below module.__name__ = "__main__" MAIN = False exec(source, module.__dict__) return module sys.meta_path = [ExperimentalImporter()] if __name__ == '__main__': if len(sys.argv) >= 1: # this program was started by # $ python import_experimental.py some_script # and we will want some_script.__name__ == "__main__" MAIN = True __import__(sys.argv)
One could easily write a shell script/bat file which would simplify execution to something like "my_python test"
It would be nice to remove the "imp" dependency and use the proper functions/methods from the importlib module, something which I have not been able to figure out (yet). Anyone familiar with the importlib module is more than welcome to do it and tell me about it. ;-)
Also, writing more useful code converters than the two toy ones I created would likely be an interesting project.