Need cleanup advice for multiline string

Robert Dailey rcdailey at
Tue Aug 11 22:08:19 CEST 2009

Hey guys. Being a C++ programmer, I like to keep variable definitions
close to the location in which they will be used. This improves
readability in many ways. However, when I have a multi-line string
definition at function level scope, things get tricky because of the
indents. In this case indents are serving two purposes: For syntax and
actual text output. The tabs for function scope should not be included
in the contents of the string. Below is the code I am trying to
improve. Notice how it looks ugly/unreadable because of the way the
string contents are shifted all the way to the left edge of the
document. This breaks the flow of scope. Would you guys solve this
problem by moving failMsg into global scope? Perhaps through some
other type of syntax?

Help is appreciated!

def RunCommand( commandList ):
   commandString =
   print( 'Running Command:',  )
   cmd = subprocess.Popen( commandList )
   returnCode = cmd.wait()
   if returnCode:
      failMsg = '''\
The following command returned exit code [{:#x}].
This represents failure of some form. Please review
the command output for more details on the issue.
      commandString = ' '.join( commandList )
      raise CommandFailure( failMsg.format( returnCode,
commandString ) )

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