It's a bug!....but is it me or the script? (Global var assign)

Peter Otten __peter__ at
Wed Nov 19 17:25:33 CET 2003

Halfdan Holger Knudsen wrote:

> Hey here's a relatively simple question...the code is for a mock-up
> passwd, usrname dict storagesystem. Why doesn't the variable enc behave
> globally (the admin function turns up a "local var referenced before
> assignment" error, when inputting 's')? In all likelyhood I've just
> managed to stare myself blind, so to anyone w/ a spare pair of eyes - the
> help would be appreciated. It's run under Python 2.3.0 in Win2k.
> T/x
> H
> PS: I know it's long and I apologize, but basically it's just the first 8
> lines that should matter.

When you try to make it shorter instead of staring yourself blind the chance
of finding the bug yourself increases rapidly:

>>> e = 0
>>> def fun():
...     if e == 0:
...             e = 1
>>> fun()
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in ?
  File "<stdin>", line 2, in fun
UnboundLocalError: local variable 'e' referenced before assignment
>>> def fun():
...     global e
...     if e == 0:
...             e = 1
>>> fun()
>>> e

When you are rebinding a name (enc) anywhere inside a function it refers to
a local even before the actual rebinding is done, unless you explicitly
state you want it to refer to a global, i. e. say 

global enc


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