Python Jumpstart by Building 10 Apps Transcripts
Chapter: App 2: Guess that number game
Lecture: Core concepts: Conditionals and truthiness
0:00 One of the fundamental components of any programming language
0:03 is the ability to make decisions,
0:05 decide to go down one path or the other
0:07 based on some tests you can run.
0:09 And in Python, this is the if, elif, else block,
0:12 so let's look at this co de sample we have here.
0:15 We have some command we are trying to get from the user,
0:17 imagine this is a command line app that can enter commands
0:20 to run or execute at this point in our application.
0:23 So we are going to ask the user to enter
0:25 either L or X but of course they can enter anything, right,
0:29 that's just open text they are going to type in,
0:31 so we also account for that.
0:33 We have these two commands we are going to work with,
0:34 let me say if the command is equal to L the string L,
0:38 the way you do equality in Python is double equal
0:40 so command == L
0:42 then we are going to indent and run some code
0:45 we are going to list the items
0:46 if it's not that case that it's L, then we want to do another test,
0:50 we'll say well maybe if it wasn't L,
0:52 else if, which is abbreviated in Python to elif,
0:55 the command == X so maybe the command is X,
0:58 in that case we're going to call exit
1:00 and if it's neither of these two things we expect,
1:03 well we can just print some message like
1:05 sorry I don't know what you meant by whatever it was you typed in
1:08 this is not a valid command.
1:10 So these conditional statements always start with if,
1:12 and then they optionally have an else if
1:15 and they optionally have an else.
1:17 And of course, this is a key building block
1:19 for our game to decide if the number is too high or too low.
1:23 So, we've seen that you can do equality test, ==,
1:26 we can also do less than, greater than,
1:29 these types of comparisons that are pretty conceptually straightforward.
1:33 But in Python, you can test any object,
1:36 anything that is a variable you can put into an if statement
1:39 and it will either evaluate the true or false,
1:41 and there is a simple set of rules around
1:43 when a thing is going to be true and false
1:46 a lot of code in Python leverages this concept
1:49 for conciseness which I am calling truthiness.
1:52 So the rules are like this,
1:53 there is a set of defined things that are false,
1:55 obviously the word False is it's a false,
1:59 but also collections, lists, sets, dictionaries,
2:04 and so on that are empty,
2:06 by the fact that they are empty,
2:08 that considers them to be false.
2:10 Strings, treat the same way, for all sorts of numbers,
2:14 if the number is 0 then it is false, otherwise it is true.
2:17 And of course any object can point to an actual thing
2:21 or it can be pointed at nothing,
2:22 in Python we call this None,
2:24 other languages call it null or nil, in this case,
2:27 when you have a variable that points in nothing, that is also false.
2:30 So, if you are not in this short clear set of things that are defined to be false,
2:34 then it evaluates to true.
2:36 So we'll see a lot of code leveraging this concept
2:38 around loops, around conditionals, and so on.