84. Function decorators

Decorators (identified by @ in line above function definition) allow code to be run before and after the function (hence ‘decorating’ it). An example of use of a decorator is shown below when a decorator function is used to time two different functions. This removes the need for duplicating code in different functions, and also keeps the functions focussed on their primary objective. Continue reading “84. Function decorators”

83. Automatically passing unpacked lists or tuples to a function (or why do you see * before lists and tuples)

Imagine we have a very simple function that adds three numebrs together:

In [1]:
def add_three_numbers (a, b, c):
    return a + b + c

We would normally pass separate numebrs to the function, e.g.

add_three_numbers (10, 20, 35)
65

But what if our numbers are in a list or a tuple. If we pass that as a list then we are passing only a single argument, and the function declares an error:

In [3]:
my_list = [10, 20, 35]

add_three_numbers (my_list)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
TypeError                                 Traceback (most recent call last)
<ipython-input-3-900947bff326> in <module>()
      1 my_list = [10, 20, 35]
      2 
----> 3 add_three_numbers (my_list)

TypeError: add_three_numbers() missing 2 required positional arguments: 'b' and 'c'

Python allows us to pass the list or tuple with the instruction to unpack it for input into the function. We instruct Python to unpack the list/tuple with an asterix before the list/tuple:

add_three_numbers (*my_list)
65