Return value of an assignment statement?

Jeff Schwab jeff at
Sat Feb 23 16:44:17 CET 2008

bruno.desthuilliers at wrote:
>> What you can't do (that I really miss) is have a tree of assign-and-test
>> expressions:
>>         import re
>>         pat = re.compile('some pattern')
>>         if m = pat.match(some_string):
>>             do_something(m)
>>         else if m = pat.match(other_string):
>>             do_other_thing(m)
>>         else:
>>             do_default_thing()
> What you want is:
> for astring, afunc in ((some_string, do_something), (other_string,
> do_other_thing)):
>     m = pat.match(astring)
>     if m:
>         afunc(m)
>         break
> else:
>     do_default_thing()

That looks like the first realistic alternative I've seen.  I find the 
flow a little hard to follow, but I think that's mostly just because I'm 
not accustomed to the syntax.

Your approach fits in my head a little more comfortably if none of the 
lines are longer than eighty columns, if the for-loop isn't given an 
else-clause (which still looks to my untrained eye like it should match 
the preceding if), and if the break-statement is replaced with a 

     actions = (
             ('some_string', do_something),
             ('other_string', do_other_thing))

     def find_action(pattern):
         for string, action in actions:
             m = pattern.match(string)
             if m:
                 return action
         return do_default_thing

     find_action(re.compile('some pattern'))()

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