Python Language partial


The partial function creates partial function application from another function. It is used to bind values to some of the function's arguments (or keyword arguments) and produce a callable without the already defined arguments.

>>> from functools import partial
>>> unhex = partial(int, base=16)
>>> unhex.__doc__ = 'Convert base16 string to int'
>>> unhex('ca11ab1e')

partial(), as the name suggests, allows a partial evaluation of a function. Let's look at at following example:

In [2]: from functools import partial

In [3]: def f(a, b, c, x):
   ...:     return 1000*a + 100*b + 10*c + x

In [4]: g = partial(f, 1, 1, 1)

In [5]: print g(2)

When g is created, f, which takes four arguments(a, b, c, x), is also partially evaluated for the first three arguments, a, b, c,. Evaluation of f is completed when g is called, g(2), which passes the fourth argument to f.

One way to think of partial is a shift register; pushing in one argument at the time into some function. partial comes handy for cases where data is coming in as stream and we cannot pass more than one argument.