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I am working in Maya using PyMEL (my goal is to leverage PyMEL to create more readable, object-oriented, Pythonic code than if I'd used maya.cmds). I need to set an attribute value on an arbitrary node. The attribute may not exist or, if it does exist, may be locked. I found that setAttr with force=True did not account for all these scenarios, so I made my own.

import pymel.core as core

def _maya_force_attribute(self, pynode, name, value, data_type="string", keyable=False, lock=False):

    if pynode.hasAttr(name):
        pynode.setAttr(name, lock=False)
        pynode.deleteAttr(name)

    pynode.addAttr(name, dataType=data_type)
    pynode.setAttr(name, value, keyable=keyable, lock=lock)

What I discovered (I think) is that when using set/add/deleteAttr, you can't often use multiple flags at the same time.

Is there a command sequence or a command/flag combo that achieves the same result more directly?

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From the documentation link you provided:

‘force’ kwarg, which causes the attribute to be added if it does not exist.

So the force kwargs does not seem to allow you to set a new dataType.

Hence it seems that the only way to set a new dataType is to remove and recreate the attribute. From this case, it seems hard to further simplify your code.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ if, for the sake of argument, I could rely on the type being correct, would that change anything? \$\endgroup\$ – david.libremone Feb 22 '16 at 15:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ It depends on the lock behavior: can you do setAttr if the attribute is locked ? \$\endgroup\$ – oliverpool Feb 22 '16 at 16:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ nope (so I discovered) -- so it sounds like, based on my attempts and your feedback (and documentation highlighting :D ) there is no "built-in" way to do this -- thanks for the review! \$\endgroup\$ – david.libremone Feb 26 '16 at 13:02

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