When the Pickler encounters an object of a type it knows nothing about -- such as an extension type -- it looks in two places for a hint of how to pickle it. One alternative is for the object to implement a __reduce__() method. If provided, at pickling time __reduce__() will be called with no arguments, and it must return either a string or a tuple.
If a string is returned, it names a global variable whose contents are pickled as normal. When a tuple is returned, it must be of length two or three, with the following semantics:
Upon unpickling, the callable will be called (provided that it meets the above criteria), passing in the tuple of arguments; it should return the unpickled object.
If the second item was
None, then instead of calling the
callable directly, its __basicnew__() method is called
without arguments. It should also return the unpickled object.
An alternative to implementing a __reduce__() method on the object to be pickled, is to register the callable with the copy_reg module. This module provides a way for programs to register ``reduction functions'' and constructors for user-defined types. Reduction functions have the same semantics and interface as the __reduce__() method described above, except that they are called with a single argument, the object to be pickled.
The registered constructor is deemed a ``safe constructor'' for purposes of unpickling as described above.
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