Python Private Variables Tutorial – Complete Guide

In our pursuit to become better programmers, understanding different types of variables is crucial. Ensuring that our code is not just functional, but also well-structured and secure, is a part of the journey. Learning about Python’s private variables enhances your coding skill set and opens doors to efficient and effective coding practices.

What are Python Private Variables?

In Python, private variables are used to hide elements within your code. These elements can range from variables, methods, to instances. They play a key part in making your code secure and preventing it from any unauthorized access.

Comprehending the concept of private variables in Python is beneficial for several reasons:

  • Code Security: Private variables provide an added layer of security to your code.
  • Prevent Overriding: Private variables can’t be overridden by subclasses, adding sturdiness to your code.
  • Data Encapsulation: They are an essential aspect of object-oriented programming, facilitating data encapsulation.

Thus, private variables in Python play a crucial role in shaping up your programming skills and in refining your code. Benefits are multifold, from enhancing your understanding of Python to easing the process of managing and maintaining large-scale applications. Tune in as we dive deeper into coding examples and applications.

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Creating Private Variables in Python

In Python, we create private variables by prefixing the variable name with double underscore (__).

class Car:
    def __init__(self):
        self.__price = 20000

car = Car()
print(car.__price)

When you try to run this code, you would get an attribute error. This is because private variables are not directly accessible.

Accessing Private Variables

Access to private variables is granted through methods within the class, often referred to as getters and setters.

class Car:
    def __init__(self):
        self.__price = 20000

    def getPrice(self):
        return self.__price

car = Car()
print(car.getPrice())

In the above code snippet, the “getPrice” method provides a way to access the private variable.

Modifying Private Variables

In order to modify private variables, we can use a method within the class to handle this as below:

class Car:
    def __init__(self):
        self.__price = 20000

    def getPrice(self):
        return self.__price

    def setPrice(self, price):
        self.__price = price

car = Car()
car.setPrice(25000)
print(car.getPrice())

We set a new price through the method “setPrice” and then retrieved the updated price using “getPrice”. Hence, we were effectively able to modify the private variable.

Using Private Variables with Inheritance

In Python, we can use private variables within parent and child classes. Here is an example of how it can be done:

class Car:
    def __init__(self):
        self.__price = 20000

    def getPrice(self):
        return self.__price

class SportsCar(Car):
    def __init__(self):
        super().__init__()

car = SportsCar()
print(car.getPrice())

The code above showcases how a child class can inherit a private variable from a parent class using methods.

Private Variables and Name Mangling

Python uses name mangling to protect private variables from being accessed outside of the class. Here’s an example:

class Car:
    def __init__(self):
        self.__price = 20000

car = Car()
print(car._Car__price)

In the above code, even though __price is a private variable, it is accessible by prefixing _Car (i.e., the class name) before the variable name. It’s important to note that it’s not a recommended practice as it deviates from the purpose of having private variables.

Private Variables Vs Public Variables

To sum up, let’s look at the major differences between private and public variables in Python:

class Car:
    def __init__(self):
        self.price = 20000           # Public Variable
        self.__private_price = 25000  # Private Variable

car = Car()
print(car.price)
print(car._Car__private_price)

The code above shows both a public variable (price) and a private variable (__private_price) being used in a class. The public variable can be accessed directly, whereas the private variable needs a workaround method for access.

Continue Your Journey with Python

Now that you are equipped with an understanding of Python private variables, you’ve taken yet another leap in your coding journey. This understanding can be applied not just in code security, but also in effective data management and efficient coding practices. However, the journey of learning doesn’t end here. There is so much more to Python than meets the eye.

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Conclusion

In this exploration of Python’s private variables, we’ve covered how they are created, accessed, and modified, along with their role in inheritance and how they differ from public variables. Understanding these details is crucial in your Python journey and underscores the programming language’s power and versatility.

As you incorporate private variables into your coding practices, continue fueling your learning curiosity with us at Zenva. Make the most of our Python Mini-Degree and other Python courses, shaping your journey as a proficient Python programmer. Because in the world of coding, there is always something new to discover!

Did you come across any errors in this tutorial? Please let us know by completing this form and we’ll look into it!

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