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What is a static method in Python

Understanding Static Methods in Python

When you're starting out in the world of programming, you'll come across various concepts that are fundamental to writing efficient and well-organized code. One such concept in Python is the static method. To grasp what static methods are, it's crucial to first understand the context in which they exist, which is within classes.

The Basics of Classes and Methods

In Python, a class is like a blueprint for creating objects. Objects are instances of classes and can have attributes (which are like properties or characteristics) and methods (which are like actions or functions specific to the object).

Methods within a class are functions that are defined inside a class and are meant to be called on objects created from that class. They usually operate on the attributes of the object. For example, if you have a Dog class, it might have a method bark that all Dog objects can perform.

Regular Methods vs Static Methods

Now, most methods you write within a class will be regular methods, which automatically take the instance (the object itself, often referred to as self in Python) as the first argument. But sometimes, you want to write a method that logically belongs to the class but does not need to access any specific instance data. This is where static methods come into play.

Static methods do not take the instance (self) or the class (cls) as the first argument. They are defined within a class but are not tied to any particular instance of that class. You can think of them as being "static" in the sense that they don't change depending on which object is calling them.

Defining a Static Method

To define a static method, you use the @staticmethod decorator, which is a special keyword in Python that alters the way the method behaves. Here's a simple example:

class MathOperations:

    def add_numbers(x, y):
        return x + y

In this example, add_numbers is a static method that takes two parameters, x and y, and returns their sum. It doesn't matter which instance of MathOperations calls this method, the result will always be based on the parameters provided.

Using Static Methods

To use a static method, you simply call it on the class itself, rather than on an instance of the class. Here's how you would use the add_numbers static method:

result = MathOperations.add_numbers(5, 3)
print(result)  # Output will be 8

Notice that you don't need to create an instance of MathOperations to use the add_numbers method. This is because the method does not depend on any instance-specific data.

When to Use Static Methods

Static methods are useful when you have some utility function that you want to group with a class, but that doesn't need to access or modify the class's state. They can be a way of organizing your code so that related functions are kept together within the relevant class.

Intuitions and Analogies

Think of a static method as a tool in a toolbox. The toolbox is the class, and each tool is a method. Just as you can use a hammer from a toolbox without needing to modify the toolbox itself, you can use a static method without needing to modify or even instantiate the class.

Benefits of Using Static Methods

One of the main benefits of static methods is that they help to keep your code organized and logically structured. They can also make your code more readable, as it becomes clear that the method does not depend on the state of any particular object.

Static Methods vs Class Methods

It's also worth noting that Python has another type of method known as a class method. Class methods are similar to static methods, but they take a class (cls) as their first argument instead of an instance (self). They are defined using the @classmethod decorator and can access class variables and modify class state, unlike static methods.


As you continue your journey with Python, understanding when and how to use static methods will be an asset in creating clean, organized, and efficient code. Static methods serve as a way to group functionality within a class without the need for an instance, acting as standalone utilities. They are like the universal tools in your programming toolbox that work independently of the objects you create.

Remember that programming concepts are tools to help solve problems more effectively. As you practice, these ideas will become more intuitive. So, experiment with static methods in your next Python project and see how they can enhance the structure and clarity of your code. Happy coding!