What Is User Defined Data Type in Python?


Larry Thompson

A user-defined data type, also known as a custom or composite data type, is a data type that is created by the user in Python. It allows programmers to define their own data structures, which can be composed of different built-in or other user-defined data types.

Creating a User-Defined Data Type

In Python, we can create a user-defined data type using classes. A class serves as a blueprint for creating objects, and it defines the attributes and behaviors of the objects of that class.

To create a user-defined data type, we start by defining a class using the class keyword. Inside the class definition, we can define various attributes and methods that define the behavior of objects of that class.

Let’s take an example of creating a user-defined data type called Point. The Point class represents a point in 2D space with x and y coordinates.

class Point:
    def __init__(self, x, y):
        self.x = x
        self.y = y

    def display(self):
        print("Coordinates: ({}, {})".format(self.x, self.y))

In the above example, we defined a Point class with two attributes: x and y. The __init__() method is called when an object of the Point class is created.

It initializes the values of x and y coordinates for each object. The display() method displays the coordinates of the point.

Using User-Defined Data Types

Once we have defined our user-defined data type, we can create objects of that type and use them in our program.

# Creating objects of Point class
point1 = Point(2, 3)
point2 = Point(-1, 5)

# Accessing attributes of objects
print("Point 1 - x:", point1.x)
print("Point 2 - y:", point2.y)

# Calling methods of objects

In the above example, we created two objects point1 and point2 of the Point class. We can access the attributes of the objects using the dot notation, like object.attribute. We can also call the methods defined in the class using the same notation.

Benefits of User-Defined Data Types

User-defined data types provide several benefits:

  • Abstraction: User-defined data types allow us to abstract complex data structures and operations into simpler and more understandable entities.
  • Code Reusability: Once we have defined a user-defined data type, we can create multiple objects of that type and reuse them in different parts of our program.
  • Data Encapsulation: User-defined data types encapsulate both data and behavior within a single entity, making it easier to manage and organize our code.

In conclusion,

User-defined data types in Python provide a way to create custom data structures tailored to our specific needs. By defining classes and creating objects, we can encapsulate related data and operations into reusable entities. This allows for more organized and maintainable code.

Become familiar with creating user-defined data types, as they are a fundamental concept in object-oriented programming and can greatly enhance the flexibility and modularity of your Python programs.

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