checking whether a var is empty or not

David M. Cooke cookedm+news at
Fri Jul 30 04:40:14 CEST 2004

At some point, Bart Nessux <bart_nessux at> wrote:

> Are these equivelent? Is one approach prefered over the other
> #check to see if var contains something... if so proceed.
> if var is not None:
>      continue
> #check to see if var is empty... if so prompt user again.
> if not var:			
>     print "Please specify the amount."
>     ...

They're not equivalent: if var is None, the first doesn't trigger, but
the second does.

Do you mean:

if var is None:
    # do something
if not var:
    # do something

The first if only triggers if var is the singleton None.
The second if will trigger if var is False, 0, 0.0, 0j, '', [], (), None,
or anything else that has a length of 0 or var.__nonzero__() returns
False. In this case, you're checking if var is false in a boolean
logic context.

If you're checking arguments to a function to see if a non-default
argument has been passed, you probably want the first, like this:

def function(var=None):
    if var is None:
        # do something to get a default argument

But if you want a flag that's true or false, you want the second:
def function(var):
    if var:
        # yes, do something
        # no, do something else

|David M. Cooke

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