What is a Null object in Python

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One of the most frequent problems that developers encounter in software development is managing null or missing data. You’ve undoubtedly heard of the idea of null if you’ve worked with programming languages other than C or Java. This is used in several languages to indicate that a variable is empty, to represent a pointer that points to nothing, or to indicate default parameters that you haven’t yet specified. In such languages, null is frequently specified as 0, however in Python, null is defined differently. 

Python defines null variables and objects with the keyword None. While none is the same as null in other languages, it does have certain similar functions. None, which Python defines as the null, is not defined to be 0 or any other value. None is an object and a first-class citizen in Python! Null objects may be constructed in Python utilizing a variety of methods and design principles. In this detailed article, we will study the notion of null objects, describe their merits, and illustrate how to create them in Python.

Null Object Pattern

The Null Object Pattern, a behavioral design pattern, offers an object-oriented method for representing the lack of an object or value. Null objects encapsulate the behavior of “doing nothing” or providing default functionality when an object is absent, as opposed to utilizing conventional null tests to handle missing data.

One design approach that makes using dependencies that may be undefined easier is the Null object pattern. Instead of utilizing null references, this is accomplished by using instances of a concrete class that implements a recognized interface. An abstract class outlining the different actions to be performed is created, along with concrete classes that extend it and a null object class that offers a do-nothing version of the class that can be used whenever we need to verify the null value.

Understanding Null in Python

When a function does not have a return statement, it returns the value None:

def has_no_return():





There is no output visible to you when you call has_no_return(). Nonetheless, you’ll see the concealed None it returns when you print a call to it.

The Python REPL won’t report None unless you specifically instruct it to do so since None happens as a return value so frequently:

print(print("Hello, World!"))


Hello, World!


Print(print(“…”)) displays the None that the inner print() produces, despite its odd appearance.

None is also often used as a warning indicator for default or missing arguments. For example, in the documentation for list.sort, None appears twice:


Help on method_descriptor:


    L.sort(key=None, reverse=False) -> None -- stable sort *IN PLACE*

In this case, the type hint for the return value and the default value for the key argument are both None. The precise results of assistance may differ depending on the platform. When you run this command in your interpreter, the result can alter, but it should still be comparable.

Implementing Null Objects in Python

In Python, null objects can be implemented in some ways, such as by utilizing the None singleton, custom classes, or unique sentinel values. Let’s examine each strategy in more depth using these instances:

Using Sentinel Values

NULL = object()

def process_data(data):

    if data is NULL:

        return "No data available"


        return data

Using Custom Classes

class NullObject:

    def __getattr__(self, name):

        return self

    def __call__(self, *args, **kwargs):

        return self

    def __bool__(self):

        return False

    def __str__(self):

        return "Null Object"

NULL = NullObject()

def process_data(data):

    if not data:

        return "No data available"


        return data

Using None Singleton

def process_data(data):

    if data is None:

        return "No data available"


        return data

Null objects are a useful tool in object-oriented design for streamlining and enhancing the readability of programming. The lack of objects does not affect the rest of the codebase since handling null values is contained within null objects. This encourages code architecture that is more organized and modular.

Benefits and Use Cases of Null Objects

  • Simplified Error Handling: The complexity of the error handling code is decreased when explicit null checks are replaced with null objects.
  • Default Functionality: When an object is absent, null objects offer default behavior or values to make sure the program keeps running properly.
  • Improved Readability: The idea of the code is made clearer and easier to understand by abstracting null value handling into null objects.
  • Testability: By substituting predictable behavior for absent items, null objects make unit testing easier.

Null Objects vs. Traditional Null Checks

Conventional null checks use explicit comparisons with null values, which in Python are represented as None. This can complicate the code and increase the risk of errors. However, null objects make code clearer and easier to maintain by encapsulating null value handling within specific objects.

How to handle null in Python and avoid errors

The null symbol in Python is used to show that a variable or object does not have a valid value. Consequently, it’s critical to utilize null effectively to prevent problems and guarantee the security and functionality of your code. There are some tips to deal with  null in Python:

  • When a variable or object doesn’t have a valid value, use None to express this. As a result, we can now conduct value checking and equality testing more transparently and safely.
  • Ensure that, when required, your methods and functions return None or a valid value. This can assist in making sure you utilize your tools and procedures appropriately and don’t make mistakes.
  • To determine whether a variable or object is null, use the is None function. As a result, we can now test for equality more safely and transparently.
  • When it’s necessary to return None, use the method None if. This makes it possible for you to safely and explicitly return None or a valid value.
  • To specify a default value for a variable or object that may be null, use default. This makes it easier for us to use the variable or object. and safely without the need for value verification or equality testing.
  • Try-except can help you handle mistakes more safely and comprehensibly. As a result, we can effectively manage errors without having to deal with null.

Using the method None makes it possible to safely and explicitly return either None or a meaningful value when returning None is required. By doing this, the delivered result is guaranteed to be clear and ambiguity-free.

By removing the requirement for equality checking or value verification, leveraging default makes it easier to use when establishing a default value for a variable or object that could be null. This lowers the possibility of unexpected behavior and improves code readability.

Try-except structures are useful for managing mistakes more thoroughly and safely. We may improve the robustness and dependability of our code by reducing the need for explicit null checks or conditional statements by handling exceptions well.

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