Creating a variable of a specific type

Diez B. Roggisch nospam-deets at
Thu Feb 5 13:56:34 CET 2004

> I understand that Python is strongly, but also dynamically typed. However,
> I need to create a variable which initially isn't actually set to
> anything, but still needs to be of a certain type. I've looked around a
> bit, but I'm not entirely sure how to do this.
> Specifically, I have a bit of C++ code which says:
> struct in_addr ipAddress;
> struct sockaddr_in serverAddress;
> map<int, socklen_t> clientAddressSizes;
> fd_set primarySocketTable;
> map<int, pthread_t> socketThreads;
> ...this is an except of a sample of different types that I am using. From
> looking at the documentation for the Python socket module, for instance, I
> can see that the function socket.inet_ntoa() requires a variable in struct
> in_addr form, just like in C++. The difference is that I don't know how to
> set up a 'blank' variable, if you see what I mean!
> I'm sure it's just a simple thing that has eluded me somehow, but in
> addition to answering this question if anyone can speak any wisdom about
> the other data types I have listed above, and their equivalents in Python,
> that would be helpful.

While your are right that python is strong and dynamically typed, you have a
(very common) misconception about variables in python. In python, you have
values on the one side, and _names_ that are bound to certain values on the
other side. So

a = 10
a = "20"

is perfectly legal - and there is no way of limiting the types of values
bound to a (which is what you are asking for). Now while this might look
like weak typing, its not, as this example shows:

a = 10
b = "30"
a + b
TypeError: unsupported operand type(s) for +: 'i

That would go with perl or tcl - and even C! In c, the example would more
look like this:

int a = 10;
char *b = "30";
a + b;

This compiles without any complaints....

Now back to your problem: I don't know right from my head what socket
requires as inet-type, but I guess its a tuple of some sort. You don't need
to declare a variable for that - just use it. If you need to check for a
symbol not beeing initialized, simply use None as value, like here:

address = None
if address:

None is considered false. You might be more explicit, by using

if address == None:

but thats a matter of taste (to me, at least...)


Diez B. Roggisch

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