Re: mutually exclusive arguments to a constructor

Suppose I'm creating a class that represents a bearing or azimuth,
created either from a string of traditional bearing notation
("N24d30mE") or from a number indicating the angle in degrees as
usually measured in trigonometry (65.5, measured counter-clockwise
from the x-axis).  The class will have methods to return the same
bearing in various formats.

In Java, I would write two constructors, one taking a single String
argument and one taking a single Double argument.  But in Python, a
class can have only one __init__ method, although it can have a lot of
optional arguments with default values.  What's the correct way to
deal with a situation like the one I've outlined above?

Similar to other answers already posted:

#!/usr/bin/env python
class azimuth:
def __init__(self, bearing, heading):
self.bearing = bearing
self.heading = heading
if not bearing:
self.bearing = 30.5 # or, realistically, a calculation
based on the heading
if not heading:
self.heading = "N..." # or, realistically, a calculation
based on the bearing
def getBearingInstance(bearing):
return azimuth(bearing, None)
def getHeadingInstance(heading):
return azimuth(None, heading)

azimuth1 = azimuth.getBearingInstance("N24d30mE")
print azimuth1.heading

azimuth2 = azimuth.getHeadingInstance(30)
print azimuth2.bearing