I want to store the information returned by the dis function of the dis module in a structured way, using a dict, associating the mnemonics of each code of a line to the correspondent line number.

Note: Instruction is a subclass of _Instruction, defined in the dis module as a namedtuple.


disassembled_dict = 
 147: [ Instruction(opname='LOAD_FAST', opcode=124, arg=0, arg1=0, arg2=0, argval='x', argrepr='x', offset=0, starts_line=147, is_jump_target=False),
        Instruction(opname='LOAD_CONST', opcode=100, arg=1, arg1=1, arg2=0, argval=1, argrepr='1', offset=3, starts_line=None, is_jump_target=False), 
        Instruction(opname='INPLACE_ADD', opcode=55, arg=None, arg1=None, arg2=None, argval=None, argrepr='', offset=6, starts_line=None, is_jump_target=False), 
        Instruction(opname='STORE_FAST', opcode=125, arg=0, arg1=0, arg2=0, argval='x', argrepr='x', offset=7, starts_line=None, is_jump_target=False)

 148: [ Instruction(opname='LOAD_FAST', opcode=124, arg=0, arg1=0, arg2=0, argval='x', argrepr='x', offset=10, starts_line=148, is_jump_target=False),
        Instruction(opname='LOAD_CONST', opcode=100, arg=2, arg1=2, arg2=0, argval=2, argrepr='2', offset=13, starts_line=None, is_jump_target=False), 
        Instruction(opname='BINARY_POWER', opcode=19, arg=None, arg1=None, arg2=None, argval=None, argrepr='', offset=16, starts_line=None, is_jump_target=False), 
        Instruction(opname='RETURN_VALUE', opcode=83, arg=None, arg1=None, arg2=None, argval=None, argrepr='', offset=17, starts_line=None, is_jump_target=False)


import dis

def preatty_dis(function):
    fcode = function.__code__
    ## call dis._get_instructions_bytes just the original dis function do
    disassembled_raw = [instruction for instruction in
                        dis._get_instructions_bytes(fcode.co_code, fcode.co_varnames,
                                                    fcode.co_names, fcode.co_consts,
                                                    fcode.co_cellvars + fcode.co_freevars,
    iter_instructions = iter(disassembled_raw)
    disassembled_dict = {}
    line_pack = []
    while True:
            if not(line_pack):
                instruction = next(iter_instructions)
                instruction = line_pack[0]

                instruction = next(iter_instructions)
                while(instruction.starts_line is None):
                    instruction = next(iter_instructions)
                    ## line_pack[0] is the first mnemonic of the code line
                    ## line_pack[0].starts_line is the number of the code line
                    disassembled_dict.update({line_pack[0].starts_line : (line_pack)})
                    line_pack = [instruction]
                disassembled_dict.update({line_pack[0].starts_line : (line_pack)})
                line_pack = []
        except StopIteration:
            ## append the last group
            disassembled_dict.update({line_pack[0].starts_line : (line_pack)})
            line_pack = []
    return disassembled_dict

The code works on Python 3.5, but I'm sure there are many chances to make it more idiomatic, cleaner and more readable...


  • \$\begingroup\$ I didn't understand a point he made, maybe you can clear it for me. He suggested to define a local function for disassembled_dict.update({line_pack[0].starts_line : (line_pack)}), but I think that is atomic, I can't split it up... \$\endgroup\$
    – JumpAlways
    Commented Mar 3, 2016 at 20:58

2 Answers 2


This is a superfluous use of a list comprehension: [instruction for instruction in dis._get_instructions_bytes(…)]. You can just call dis._get_instructions_bytes() directly.

As indicated by the _ prefix, dis._get_instructions_bytes() is an undocumented and unsupported method. If you choose to write code that relies on undocumented behaviour, you have a duty to point it out with an obvious apologetic comment.

I'm not convinced that you need to use an undocumented function, though. dis.get_instructions() seems to work just fine.

The use of next() to iterate through disassembled_raw is awkward, and I'm sure that is what prompted you to post this question. Fundamentally, what you want to achieve is a "group by" operation, so you want to use itertools.groupby(). The only tricky thing is that you want instruction.starts_line being None to mean that that instruction should be lumped with the previous batch. For that, you could use a hack: make the key function stateful.

You seem to have a stray print() call at the end, left over from debugging.

Suggested solution

import dis
import itertools

def pretty_dis(function):
    last_seen_starts_line = None
    def stateful_starts_line(instruction):
        """Extract line number for the instruction, which is either
           instruction.starts_line if there is one, or the previously
           seen instruction.starts_line if there isn't."""
        nonlocal last_seen_starts_line
        last_seen_starts_line = instruction.starts_line or last_seen_starts_line
        return last_seen_starts_line

    return {
        line_num: list(instructions)
        for line_num, instructions in itertools.groupby(
            dis.get_instructions(function), key=stateful_starts_line
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've chosen dis.get_instructions() as you suggested. \$\endgroup\$
    – JumpAlways
    Commented Mar 3, 2016 at 21:52
  • It should probably spell pretty_dis.
  • Instead of breaking you can put the return disassembled_dict right there since that's the only thing you do after the loop anyway.
  • A few of the parenthesis aren't needed, i.e. after while, not and around line_pack.
  • The expression disassembled_dict.update({line_pack[0].starts_line : (line_pack)}) appears three times - time to put that into a (local) function. You could also fit in the line_pack reset with some thought.

Otherwise looks good IMO.

  • \$\begingroup\$ update is a built-in method of the dict type, right? \$\endgroup\$
    – JumpAlways
    Commented Mar 3, 2016 at 20:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, I meant the whole expression is repeated three times, so it should be extracted into a separate function. \$\endgroup\$
    – ferada
    Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 11:03

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