Python 3, an illustrated tour Transcripts
Chapter: The standard library
Lecture: Enum

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0:00 In this video, we're going to talk about the enum library,
0:02 this came in Python 3.4 with Pep 435.
0:05 In the pep we read, enumeration is a set of symbolic names
0:08 bound to unique constant values.
0:10 Within an enumeration, the values can be compared by identity
0:14 and the numeration itself can be iterated over.
0:17 If you're not familiar with enumerations in other languages,
0:19 they allow you to hard-code magic numbers and make use of those
0:23 and you could do that in Python prior by making globals
0:26 and making all capitalized variable name and setting equal to some value.
0:31 There are a few features that enumerations have
0:33 that make them slightly better to use. Here's an example.
0:36 I'm going to import the enum class from the enum module
0:40 and then I just define a class
0:42 in this case, I'm going to define a class called bike
0:44 and there are various types of bikes.
0:46 So there might be a road bike or mountain biker or a cross bike or a trike.
0:49 and maybe I'm going to be switching on these different bike types or whatnot.
0:53 Inside of my class, as attributes I say road is equal to 1,
0:57 mountain is equal to 2, etc.
0:59 And I can define numbers that give values for those.
1:04 If you want to enumerate all the different possibilities of what are in a bike
1:08 you can loop over that and you can say
1:11 well there's road, mountain, cross and trike,
1:14 you can also do comparisons using the equality operator.
1:17 So the last bike in the enumeration was trike,
1:20 and is that equal to a bike.trike, yes, that is the case.
1:25 Trike is I believe number 4 here
1:27 so you could say is bike equal equal to 4.
1:31 That's what we're trying to get around.
1:33 We're trying to get around magic numbers
1:35 where you're using number that has a unique meaning for you,
1:38 but maybe to someone else who's reading it doesn't make sense.
1:41 So bike.trike is very explicit and makes the code more readable.
1:45 If we want to access these enumerations,
1:48 you can access them in different ways
1:50 so you can do the by attribute, so you can just say .mountain
1:53 you can also say bike 2, you can call it and pass in 2
1:57 and that will give you what the enumeration is.
2:00 You can also do it by index name.
2:03 So there's an index operation that says mountain
2:05 and that gives you back the enumeration.
2:08 All these are the same.
2:10 I prefer this first one I think it's the most readable.
2:12 Identity comparisons also work with enumerations as well.
2:15 So you can say bike.mountain is bike.mountain and that is true.
2:19 So it's not going to make a new instance of those.
2:21 There's an alternate construction that we can use to create enumerations here.
2:25 This is similar to the named tuple construction.
2:27 We're going to make a variable here called bike or bike2, camel case
2:32 because it's class like and then we're going to pass in the name of the class here.
2:37 And then we're going to pass in the different enumerations in here.
2:40 And in this case, we don't need to provide the numbers
2:43 we'll get default numbers for them,
2:45 so I can say bike2 what's the 2, the 2 was in this case mountain
2:50 and what is road and that was this one right here bike road,
2:55 which has a value of 1.
2:57 This video discussed enumerations in Python.
2:59 This is included in Python 3.
3:01 This is just a little library that's meant to make your code more readable.
3:05 If you're using hard coded numbers all over the place
3:08 consider using enumerations,
3:10 or if you have different categorical types that you're using
3:14 consider using enumerations to make your code more readable.