Imagine crafting a game engine. Its internal gears move smoothly and everything fits into place, not by chance, but by careful design. Similar to this engine, well-written code reflects our intentions, the structure and ideas behind its crafting. Python, a language cherished by coders across the planet, prides itself on the beauty and readability of its syntax. But what does it mean for Python code to be stylish and how can it improve our game or app development journey? Let’s find out.
Table of contents
What is Python Code Style?
Python code style, also known as PEP 8, is a set of conventions for writing Python code. These rules are not enforced by the Python interpreter but following them is a hallmark of a polished and professional coder.
What is it for?
Following a style guide enhances your code’s readability and maintainability by promoting consistency in structure and formatting. Just like a well-designed game level facilitates player engagement, standardized code makes it easier for you and others to read and understand your code, bringing your team efficiency to the next level.
Why should I learn it?
Abiding by a code style is akin to learning the unwritten rules of a multiplayer game. It makes you a better team player, makes your code easier to review, and ensures your work up to industry standards. Plus, it gives your scripts an elegant touch, making them more readable for your future self and other developers. Reinventing the way you code in Python may seem like a side quest, but it’s a rare gem that actually levels up your coding skills.
PEP 8 – Python Code Examples
Let’s delve into understanding PEP 8 with some concrete examples.
Indentation in Python is crucial – it determines the structure of your code blocks. PEP 8 recommends using 4 spaces per indentation level, not tabs. Here’s an example:
def add_number(x, y): result = x + y return result
2. Line Length
Keeping your line length to a maximum of 79 characters allows for easy readability on various screen sizes and allows for side-by-side code viewing. Here’s an example of wrapping lines using the escape character ‘\’:
print('This is an exceptionally long line of code that we need \ to wrap onto the next line for readability.')
3. Import Formatting
According to PEP 8, imports should be placed on separate lines and always at the top of the file. Here’s how it’s done:
import os import sys
4. Naming Conventions
Names in your code should be descriptive. Use lower_case_with_underscores for variables and functions, and use UpperCase for classes. Here are some examples:
my_variable = 12 def my_function(): pass class MyClass: pass
PEP 8 Checkers
It can be tough to remember to follow all this PEP 8 advice while coding. Fortunately, there are tools available, like pylint and flake8, that automatically check your code for you. They can be useful to help you develop good habits and write PEP 8-friendly code.
5. Using pylint
To use pylint, simply run ‘pylint your_file_name.py’ in your command line. pylint will analyze your file and give it a score based on how well it conforms to PEP 8:
$ pylint my_script.py
6. Using flake8
flake8 is another tool offering similar functionality. To use it, run ‘flake8 your_file_name.py’:
$ flake8 my_script.py
Autopep8 is an awesome tool that not only identifies PEP 8 issues in your code, but it can also fix them automatically! This can be very helpful when trying to format large codebases:
$ autopep8 --in-place --aggressive --aggressive my_script.py
Following PEP 8 makes your code more professional and pleasant to read. By practicing and using tools like pylint, flake8, and autopep8, you can level up your Python coding skills and be a better team player. Happy crafting!
More Examples of PEP 8 Guidelines
Now that you’re getting the hang of PEP 8, let’s dive deeper into some more specific practices for writing clean, stylish Python code.
1. Whitespace in Expressions and Statements
PEP 8 recommends using whitespace around operators and after commas to improve readability. However, avoid using whitespace immediately inside parentheses, brackets, or braces. Here are some examples:
# Good value = age + height my_list = [1, 2, 3, 4] # Bad value=age+height my_list = [ 1,2,3,4 ]
PEP 8 also provides guidance for commenting your code. Comments should be complete sentences and should be kept up-to-date with code changes. Here is an example:
# Good # This function adds two numbers def add_numbers(x, y): return x + y # Bad # Function def add_numbers(x, y): return x + y
3. Multi-line Statements
If statements still exceed the maximum line length even after applying line wrapping, then you could use parentheses to break down the expression over multiple lines. Here’s an example:
# Good total_score = ( first_score + second_score - penalties ) # Bad total_score = first_score + second_score - penalties
4. Use of Blank Lines
PEP 8 guidelines suggest using blank lines sparingly. Usually, they are used to separate functions and classes, and larger blocks of code inside functions. Here’s an example:
# Good def first_function(): pass def second_function(): pass # Bad def first_function(): pass def second_function(): pass
5. Use of single and double quotes
In Python, single quotes and double quotes are interpreted the same. PEP 8 does not make a specific recommendation, but consistency within a project is preferred. Here’s how you can use both:
# Either is fine, but be consistent my_string = 'Hello World' my_string = "Hello World"
By adhering to PEP 8 guidelines, you ensure that your Python code is stylistically sound, easy to read, and well-structured. This boosts the readability and quality of your work as a developer. We at Zenva always believe in mastering these skills to maximize our potential in building engaging games, apps and more.
Where to go next?
Congratulations on delving into the depths of Python style guide, PEP 8. Your journey, however, has only just begun. Continue practicing these guidelines, refining your understanding, and exploring the vast possibilities with Python code.
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Python is not just a programming language – it’s a means to bring our creative ideas to fruition, whether that be engaging games, interactive apps or innovative machine learning models. PEP 8 brings elegance and organization to this creative journey, making Python a truly powerful weapon in a coder’s arsenal.
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