Python variables are bound to types when used?

Marc 'BlackJack' Rintsch bj_666 at
Wed Oct 19 22:54:16 CEST 2005

In <1129751462.061785.124830 at>, pranab_bajpai

> So I want to define a method that takes a "boolean" in a module, eg.
> def getDBName(l2):
> ...

Is that a 12 or l2?

> Now, in Python variables are bound to types when used, right?
> Eg.
> x = 10 # makes it an INT
> whereas
> x = "hello" # makes it a string

No, think of `x` as a *name*.  The name has *no* type.  The objects you
bind to that name have a type.  So 10 is an int and "hello" is a string.

> I take it, the parameters to a function (in the above example "l2") are
> bound in the definition, rather than as invoked.

If you invoke the function then the parameter is bound to an object.  This
object has a type.

> So, if I use "l2" thus:
> if (l2): # only then does it make it a boolean?

Here `l2` is treated as a boolean.  If it is an integer then 0 is false,
everything else is true, if it is a list, dictionary or string then an
"empty" object is false, everything else is true.  Otherwise it depends on
the existence and return value of either a `__nonzero__()` or the
`__len__()` method.  See the docs for details.

> and if I did,
> if (l2 = "hello"): # would it become string?

It would become a syntax error.  No assignement allowed there.

> and what if I never used it in the definition body?

Again: The objects have types, the names not.  A string that is never used
remains a string.

	Marc 'BlackJack' Rintsch

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