Python: Functions - Part 1

Quick post Python functions:


Define a function and call it:

def add(first_num, second_num):
    sum = first_num + second_num
    print(sum)

>> add(1, 2)
3

Two types of arguments: positional and keyword:
Positional - defined by order of parameters in the method
Keyword - use the parameter name when calling the function

You can forget what order to use when all of your arguments are keyword arguments:
add(second_num = 3, first_num = 1)

But when mixing keyword arguments with positional you need to take care that all keyword arguments are at the end:

add(second_num = 3, 3)
SyntaxError: positional argument follows keyword argument

In the call below, the first argument of value "1" is taken in as parameter "first_num" based on it's position, so defining it again as keyword Python will give error:

>>> add(1, first_num = 3)
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<pyshell#9>", line 1, in <module>
    add(1, first_num = 3)
TypeError: add() got multiple values for argument 'first_num'


>>> add(2, second_num = 3)
5

Default value:
Set a default value for a parameter in the method definition by using "=" sign.
In this example, the second_num parameter defaults to value of 5.
You can skip passing in second argument and the function will run fine.

>>> def add(first_num, second_num = 5):
 sum = first_num + second_num
 print(sum)

>>> add(3)
8

If you don't want to use default value of 5, then call the function the usual way.

>>> add(4, 5)
9

If you have many default parameters, you can use keyword to assign a different value to one of them and skip the rest. For example:

>>> def calc(a, b, c = 10, d = 20, e = 30):
 print(a + b + c + d + e)

# skip all default parameters
>>> calc(1, 2)
63

#when not using default val of 'e'
>>> calc(2, 3, e = 45)
80

Next post: Working with unknown number of parameters


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