Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Function Parameter Hints in Python3

Python variables are not type-specific. For example, you can assign different types of data to the same variable multiple times. For example,

a = 1; a = 'a'; a = 2.3

works fine on Python, but won't work in C/C++, because once the variable type is assigned, it cannot be changed. This makes it much easier to write code in Python, but at the same time it brings about some disadvantages.

For example, with strongly-typed variables, smart editor (i.e., editor with autocompletion feature) can easily guess what options to give out to user as the user is typing. On the other hand, if the variable is not strongly-typed, it is fairly difficult for the editor to figure out what to suggest.

Consider the following code. Try to manually type the code on your editor that has autocompletion feature. You will notice that while typing the definition for the function equal, your editor can't be much of a help in terms of auto-completion.

Now, Consider the revised code where type hints have been added. This time, your editor should be able to figure out what type of variables a and b are, and should provide accurate suggestions to you.
By the way, this awesome feature is only available in Python3; personally, however, this feature alone is enough for anyone to consider transition from Python 2 to Python 3!

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