I still remember some of the first programs I ever wrote, and cringe in bed at night as I relive the nightmares of my days as a beginner programmer. While I will never escape the crimes of my past writing quintuple-nested loops is the biggest of those sins , perhaps I can partially redeem myself, even if only slightly, by helping other developers who are fresh into the field learn a few best practices to write faster, cleaner, and better code.
As with nearly every programming language, there are certain stylistic and conventional guidelines that are accepted by the Python community to promote unified, maintainable, and concise applications that are written the way the language intended them to be written. These guidelines range from proper variable, class, and module naming conventions, to looping structures, and even the proper way to wrap lines of code.
Why does all of this matter? This question is open to many interpretations, but a few key reasons why you should care come down to the clarity, efficiency, and credibility of the code.
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The clarity of your code is paramount to your success if you want to be a developer. As you grow in the field, you will likely work with others at some point in time, which will require peers to read your code. If your code is written poorly, it can be a nightmare for others to decipher your intentions, even in short chunks.
Does this code work? Sure does.
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Is it easy to identify what this code is supposed to accomplish if you changed the function name? Probably not without spending an hour analyzing it. The moment we can write something that solves our problem, we are afraid of doing anything to the code in fear that we will break everything and be unable to fix it again. I would encourage any developer to break this mentality as early as possible this goes for all languages.
Even if you created the poorly-written code yourself, it is often difficult to return to it a week, month, or even a year later and attempt to unravel its mystery. By writing programs the way the language was intended, developers should naturally be writing code that looks similar to that of their peers.
This makes it easy to understand, easy to share, and easy to update. Python has been around for nearly three decades at this point and has quickly become one of the most popular languages by developers around the world. Python is also known for containing an abundance of libraries that can do almost anything you want or need. Many of these libraries and features see thousands of members creating updates over several years, squeezing as much performance out of every line of code as possible. In general, look for a built-in function or data type that achieves what you are looking for.
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Chances are, this will be the fastest way to complete a task. If not, check if there are any libraries or packages that can be installed which do what you need. Take the following problem as an example:. A direct Python re-write of this would look very similar:. If you were to write Python code using the first example, your credibility as a Python developer would go down as the Python community is very passionate about writing code following the guidelines.
Why you should care about Flemish
For most non-Python developers, the first solution would probably look something like this:. As before, a direct Python translation would be:. No matter which method you choose above, found will always evaluate to False or false in the end. The last choice, however, is the clear champion when it comes to Pythonic code. It is concise and easily understandable. Even those that have never read Python or any code for that matter have a chance at comprehending the intention of this last block unlike the previous two.
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