Python Decorators

Python Decorators

Samer Mahamid's photo
Samer Mahamid
·Sep 12, 2022·

4 min read


Decorators are a feature of Python that lets you modify the behavior of functions without modifying their source code. This can be helpful with complex code, but it can also lead to some confusion if you're not careful. In this article, I'll explain how decorators work, and how they can be used in your own projects!


When you're working with Python, one of the most powerful things you can do is write decorators. Decorators add functionality to existing code, making it easier to reuse and extend.

There are many reasons to use decorators. They can help you:

  • Reduce duplication of code
  • Extend the functionality of existing code
  • Write more expressive and readable code

A function can also generate another function:

def hello_function():
     def say_hi():
         return "Hello"

     return say_hi

hello = hello_function()


Python's closures are a powerful tool that allows a nested function to access the outer scope. This is a critical concept in decorators, which are a type of closure. Decorators are used to modify the behavior of a function, and they are especially useful for extending the functionality of third-party libraries.

def print_message(message):
     def message_sender():
         """Nested function"""


print_message("Some message")

Decorators definition

Python Decorators are very powerful and useful tools that allow us to modify the behavior of functions or classes. They are usually defined in the form of decorator functions which take a target object as an argument and return a modified version of this object. In Python, decorators can be applied to both functions and classes. When used properly, they can help reduce code repetition, make code more readable and make our programs more extensible.

Creating decorators

In the example below we create a decorator function that converts a sentence to upper case

def uppercase_decorator(function):
     def wrapper():
         result = function()
         uppercase_result = result.upper()
         return uppercase_result

      return wrapper

Using Decorators

Our decorator function takes a function as an argument, so let us define a function and pass it to our decorator. We learned earlier that we could assign a function to a variable. We'll use that trick to call our decorator function.

def say_hi():
     return 'hello there'

decorate = uppercase_decorator(say_hi)

Decorator an @

However, python provides a much easier way for us to apply decorators We simply use the @ symbol before the function we would like to decorate.

def say_hi():
    return 'hello there'


Accepting arguments

Sometimes we might need to define a decorator that accepts arguments We achieve this by passing the arguments to the wrapper function The arguments will then be passed to the function that is being decorated at call time

from time import time

def measure_time(func):
     def wrapper(*args, **kwargs):
         start = time()
         result = func(*args, **kwargs)
         end = time()
         print(end - start)
         return result

     return wrapper

def s():
     l = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]
     return [x * 3 for x in l]


Passing arguments

In order to achieve this, we define a decorator maker that accepts arguments Then we define a wrapper function inside the decorator as we did earlier

def repeat(n):
     def decorator(func):
         def wrapper(*args, **kwargs):
             for _ in range(n):
                 func(*args, **kwargs)

         return wrapper

     return decorator

def say_hi():


Class decorators

  • classmethod - decorator function that converts a function to a class method

  • abstractmethod - decorator function that converts an instance method to an abstract instance method

  • abstractclassmethod - decorator function that converts a class method to an abstract class method

  • @property - change your class methods/attributes so that the user of a class doesn't need to make any changes in their code

class Person:
    def __init__(self):
        self.__name = ''

    def name(self):
        return self.__name

    def name(self, value):
        self.__name = value

person = Person() = 'Sammy'


Classes as decorators

We can also use classes as decorators We usually do that when we need to maintain a state to use a class as a decorator we need to implement the call method The call method allows class instance to be called as functions

class Fibonacci:
    def __init__(self):
        self.cache = {}

    def __call__(self, n):
        if n not in self.cache:
            if n == 0:
                self.cache[0] = 0
            elif n == 1:
                self.cache[1] = 1
                self.cache[n] = self(n - 1) + self(n - 2)
        return self.cache[n]

fib = Fibonacci()

for i in range(5):


class FuncLogger:
    _logfile = 'out.log'

    def __init__(self, func):
        self.func = func

    def __call__(self, *args):
        log_string = self.func.__name__ + 'was called'
        with open(self._logfile, 'a') as opened_file:
            opened_file.write(log_string + '\n')
        return self.func(*args)

def say_hi(name):
    print(f'Hi {name}')

def say_buy(name):
    print(f'Bye {name}')


Did you find this article valuable?

Support Samer Mahamid by becoming a sponsor. Any amount is appreciated!

See recent sponsors Learn more about Hashnode Sponsors
Share this