# Why can't I xor strings?

dataangel k04jg02 at kzoo.edu
Fri Oct 8 22:57:13 CEST 2004

```Phil Frost wrote:

>^ is the bitwise xor operator. Performing bitwise operations on strings
>doesn't make much sense, so it's invalid. You can define a logical xor
>function like so:
>
>xor = lambda p, q: (p and not q) or (not p and q)
>
>or equivalently:
>
>xor = lambda p, q: bool(p) != bool(q)
>
>On Fri, Oct 08, 2004 at 04:19:22PM -0400, dataangel wrote:
>
>
>>I wrote a function to compare whether two strings are "similar" because
>>I'm using python to make a small text adventure engine and I want to it
>>to be responsive to slight mispellings, like "inevtory" and the like. To
>>save time the first thing my function does is check if I'm comparing an
>>empty vs. a non-empty string, because they are to be never considered
>>similar. Right now I have to write out the check like this:
>>
>>   if str1 and str2:
>>       if not str1 or not str2:
>>           return 0
>>
>>Because python won't let me do str1 ^ str2. Why does this only work for
>>numbers? Just treat empty strings as 0 and nonempty as 1.
>>
>>Regardless of whether this is the best implementation for detecting if
>>two strings are similar, I don't see why xor for strings shouldn't be
>>supported. Am I missing something? Inparticular, I think it'd be cool to
>>have "xor" as opposed to "^". The carrot would return the resulting
>>value, while "xor" would act like and/or do and return the one that was
>>true (if any).
>>
>>
>
>
>
Urk, ran into a little trouble with your code (the first one):

>>> xor("", "") == False
False
>>> xor("", "") == True
False

I'm a python newbie so I'm not sure how something can niether evaluate
to be true nor false at the same time :P Bug?

```