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How to print colored message on command line terminal window

When you are developing a python script with some output messages printed on the terminal window, you may find a little bit boring that all the messages are printed in black and white, especially if some messages are meant for warning, and some just for information only. You may wonder how to print colored message to make them look differently, so that your users are able to pay special attention to those warning or error messages.

In this article, I will be sharing with you a library which allows you to print colored message in your terminal.

Let’s get started!

The library I am going to introduce called colorama, which is a small and clean library for styling your messages in both Windows, Linux and Mac os.

Prerequisite :

You will need to install this library, so that you will be able to run the following code in this article.

pip install colorama

To start using this library, you will need to import the modules, and call the init() method at the beginning of your script or your class initialization method.

import colorama
from colorama import Fore, Back, Style
colorama.init()

Print colored message with colorama

The init method also accepts some **kwargs to overwrite it’s default behaviors. E.g. by default, the style will not be reset back after printing out a message,  and the subsequent messages will be following the same styles. You can pass in autoreset = true to the init method, so that the style will be reset after each printing statement.

Below are the options you can use when formatting the font, background and style.

Fore: BLACK, RED, GREEN, YELLOW, BLUE, MAGENTA, CYAN, WHITE, RESET.
Back: BLACK, RED, GREEN, YELLOW, BLUE, MAGENTA, CYAN, WHITE, RESET.
Style: DIM, NORMAL, BRIGHT, RESET_ALL

To use it in your message, you can do as per below to wrap your messages with the styles:

print(Fore.CYAN + "Cyan messages will be printed out just for info only" + Style.RESET_ALL)
print(Fore.RED + "Red messages are meant to be to warning or error" + Style.RESET_ALL)
print(Fore.YELLOW + Back.GREEN +  "Yellow messages are debugging info" + Style.RESET_ALL)

This is how it would look like in your terminal:

Python printed colored message with colorama

As I mentioned earlier, if you don’t set the autoreset to true, you will need to reset the style at the end of your each message, so that different message applies different styles.

What if you want to apply the styles when asking user’s input ? Let’s see an example:

print(Fore.YELLOW)
choice = input("Enter YES to confrim:")
print(Style.RESET_ALL)
if str.upper(choice) in ["YES",'Y']:
    print(Fore.GREEN + "You have just confirmed to proceed." + Style.RESET_ALL)
else:
    print(Fore.RED + "You did not enter yes, let's stop here" + Style.RESET_ALL)

By wrapping the input inside Fore.YELLOW and Style.RESET_ALL, whatever output messages from your script or user entry, the same style will be applied.

Let’s put all the above into a script and run it in the terminal to check how it looks like.

Python printed colored message with colorama

Yes, that’s exactly what we want to achieve! Now you can wrap your printing statement into a method e.g.: print_colored_message, so that you do not need to repeat the code everywhere.

As per always, please share if you have any comments or questions.

 

python unpack objects

Python how to unpack tuple, list and dictionary

There are various cases that you want to unpack your python objects such as tuple, list or dictionary into individual variables, so that you can easily access the individual items. In this article I will be sharing with you how to unpack these different python objects and how it can be useful when working with the *args and **kwargs in the function.

Let’s get started.

Unpack python tuple objects

Let’s say we have a tuple object called shape which describes the height, width and channel of an image, we shall be able to unpack it to 3 separate variables by doing below:

shape = (500, 300, 3)
height, width, channel = shape
print(height, width, channel)

And you can see each item inside the tuple has been assigned to the individual variables with a meaningful name, which increases the readability of your code. Below is the output:

500 300 3

It’s definitely more elegant than accessing each items by index, e.g. shape[0], shape[1], shape[2].

What if we just need to access a few items in a big tuple which has many items? Here we need to introduce the _ (unnamed variable) and * (unpack arbitrary number of items)

For example,  if we just want to extract the first and the last item from the below tuple, we can let the rest of the items go into a unnamed variable.

toto_result = (4,11,14,23,28,47,24)
first, *_, last = toto_result
print(first, last)

So the above will give the below output:

4 24

If you are curious what is inside the “_”, you can try to print it out. and you would see it’s actually a list of the rest of items between the first and last item.

[11, 14, 23, 28, 47]

The most popular use case of the packing and unpacking is to pass around as parameters to function which accepts arbitrary number of arguments (*args). Let’s look at an example:

def sum(*numbers):
    total = 0
    for n in numbers:
        total += n
    return total

For the above sum function, it accepts any number of arguments and sum up the values. The * here is trying to pack all the arguments passed to this function and put it into a tuple called numbers. If you are going to sum up the values for all the items in toto_result, directly pass in the toto_result would not work.

toto_resut = (4,11,14,23,28,47,24)
#sum(toto_result) would raise TypeError

So what we can do is to unpack the items from the tuple then pass it the sum function:

total = sum(*toto_resut)
print(total)
#output should be 151

Unpack python list objects

Unpacking the list object is similar to the unpacking operations on tuple object. If we replace the tuple to list in the above example, it should be working perfectly.

shape = [500, 300, 3]
height, width, channel = shape
print(height, width, channel)
#output shall be 500 300 3

toto_result = [4,11,14,23,28,47,24]
first, *_, last = toto_result
print(first, last)
#output shall be 4 24

total = sum(*toto_resut) 
print(total) 
#output should be also 151

Unpack python dictionary objects

Unlike the list or tuple, unpacking the dictionary probably only useful when you wants to pass the dictionary as the keyword arguments into a function (**kwargs).

For instance, in the below function, you can pass in all your keyword arguments one by one.

def print_header(**headers):
    for header in headers:
        print(header, headers[header])

print_header(Host="Mozilla/5.0", referer = "https://www.codeforests.com")

Or if you have a dictionary like below, you can just unpack it and pass to the function:

headers = {'Host': 'www.codeforests.com', 'referer' : 'https://www.codeforests.com'}
print_header(**headers)

It will generate the same result as previously, but the code is more concise.

Host www.codeforests.com
referer https://www.codeforests.com

With this unpacking operator, you can also combine multiple dictionaries as per below:

headers = {'Host': 'www.codeforests.com', 'referer' : 'https://www.codeforests.com'}
extra_header = {'user-agent': 'Mozilla/5.0'}

new_header = {**headers, **extra_header}

The output of the new_header will be like below:

{'Host': 'www.codeforests.com',
 'referer': 'https://www.codeforests.com',
 'user-agent': 'Mozilla/5.0'}

Conclusion

The unpacking operation is very usefully especially when dealing with the *args and **kwargs. There is one thing worth noting on the unamed variable (_) which I mentioned in the previous paragraph. Please use it with caution, as if you notice, the python interactive interpreter also uses _ to store the last executed expression. So do take note on this potential conflict. See the below example:

codeforests interactive interpreter conflicts

As per always, welcome any comments or questions.

Get file names by extension from a directory

Whenever you access the directories and files, you probably will need to implement some function to get file names by file extension from a particular directory. For instance, you may want to check and process all the excel files in a folder, or do a house keeping to remove all the old log files. In this article, I will be explaining to you a few ways of implementing such function.

Let’s get started!

There are actually plenty of libraries/modules you can use to achieve it, but let’s start with the most commonly used libraries/modules.

Option 1

Since you will need to import the os module anyway if you need to handle the file operations, you can make use of the functions from this module.

For instance, you can list out all the files/sub-directories under the current directory,  and check if file name ending with certain file extension as per below:

import os

pyfiles = []
for file in os.listdir("."):
    if file.lower().endswith(".ipynb"):
        pyfiles.append(file)

You can further sort the files by last modified time from latest to the earliest.

pyfiles.sort(key=os.path.getmtime, reverse=True)

What if you want to check multiple file extensions ? Don’t worries, you can still achieve it by some minor change on the if condition:

if file.lower().endswith((".ipynb", ".xlsx")):

Option 2

The os module also has another method scandir which is able to achieve the same, and also returns the file types and file attribute info.

files = []
for file in os.scandir("."):
    if file.name.lower().endswith((".ipynb", ".xlsx")):
        files.append(file.name)

 

Option 3

If you don’t like the way to match the file names in the above code, you can use fnmatch to do this job. for example: 

import fnmatch
files = []
for file in os.listdir("."):
    if fnmatch.fnmatch(file, "*.ipynb") or fnmatch.fnmatch(file, "*.xlsx"):
        files.append(file)

 

Option 4

Python has a glob module you can use the Unix style of pattern to match the files. To match the files with certain extension, you can simply do the below:

import glob
files = glob.glob("*.ipynb")

And then sort by the file creation from the latest to the earliest:

files.sort(key=os.path.getctime, reverse=True)

if you want match for multiple file extensions, you can do something as below:

files = []
file_types = ("*.ipynb", "*.xlsx")
for file_type in file_types:
    files.extend(glob.glob(file_type))

files.sort(key=os.path.getctime, reverse=True)

As I mentioned earlier, there are far more ways of doing it and it would not be possible to list of all them, so I will just stop here, and please leave your comments if you have better ideas.

 

How to swap key and value in a python dictionary

There are cases that you may want to swap key and value pair in a python dictionary, so that you can do some operation by using the unique values in the original dictionary.

For instance, if you have the below dictionary:

contact = {"joe" : "[email protected]", "john": "[email protected]"}

you can swap key and value of the dictionary by:

contact = {val : key for key, val in contact.items()}
print(contact)

You will see the below output:

{'[email protected]': 'joe', '[email protected]': 'john'}

But for the above dictionary, if multiple names sharing the same email address, then only one name will be retained. e.g. :

contact = {"joe" : "[email protected]", "jane" : "[email protected]", "john": "[email protected]"}
contact = {val : key for key, val in contact.items()}

Output of the contact dictionary will be :

{'[email protected]': 'jane', '[email protected]': 'john'}

So how to keep all the keys that have the same value after reversing it ?

You will need to use a list or set to collect all the keys if the value is the same, e.g.:

email_contact = {}
for key, val in contact.items():
    email_contact.setdefault(val, []).append(key)

(please refer to this article about the setdefault method)

And you will see the below output for the new dictionary email_contact:

{'[email protected]': ['joe', 'jane'], '[email protected]': ['john']}

That’s exactly what we want ! Now we shall be able to say “hi” to both Joe and Jane when sending email to [email protected] without missing any names.

 

As per always, welcome any comments or questions.

python dictionary keyerror

Handling the KeyError for python dictionary

python dictionary KeyError

The KeyError is quite commonly seen when dealing with the dictionary objects. when trying to access the dictionary while the key does not exists, then this error will be showing up. Usually to avoid this error, we will need to check if the key exists before accessing the value.

For instance, you can check if the key “country” exists in my_dict and then check if the values is “SGP” like the below. But the code does not look elegant.

my_dict = {"name" : "National University of Singapore", "address" : "21 Lower Kent Ridge Rd Singapore", "contact": "68741616"}
if my_dict.get("country") and my_dict["country"] == "SGP":
    print(f"country code is {my_dict['country']}")

You may also see someone uses the below way to make the code more concise. To pass in a default value if the key does not exists:

if my_dict.get("country", "") == "SGP":
    print(f"country code is {my_dict['country']}")

The Zen of Python tells us

Explicit is better than implicit.

So the above code actually does not follow this principal. If you go through the python documentation for dictionary, there is indeed a way to get the value of the key and meanwhile setting a default value if the key is new to the dictionary. Below code shows how it works:

if my_dict.setdefault("country", "") == "SGP":
    print(f"country code is {my_dict['country']}")

By doing the above, the key “country” will be added into the my_dict with a default value if the key does not exists previously, and then return the value of this key.

To extend the above setdefault method, if the value is a list of objects, you can also use this method to initialize it and then set the value.

my_dict.setdefault("faculty", []) # use list or set()
my_dict["faculty"].append("Arts")
my_dict["faculty"].append("Computer Science")

 

As per always, welcome for any comments or questions.