Pure Programmer

Constants

Often when we write a program, we need to use the same literal value over and over. Not only is it tedious to key in the same literal over and over, but it is also prone to error. For example if you write a program that uses trigonometry functions, we would often need the value for [[π]] which is approximately 3.141592653589793. You can see how tedious it would be to type this literal value not to mention the likelihood of transposition or other errors. Having a simple named constant symbol such as `PI` would make writing such a program much easier.

It is also possible that we need to use literal values in our program that change from time-to-time but not during the running of our program. Values like local sales tax rate or the [[cosmological constant]] only change infrequently so having a single place to make the required change when it is necessary helps greatly with program maintenance.

Types

Python constants and variables are not declared with a specific data type in mind. Instead they are generally declared as existing then we can put a value of any type we wish into them. This is idea is known as weak typing. It makes it easy for the programmer to create constants and variables but can lead to some types of run-time errors because the language interpreter can not check to see if the proper type of value has been used.

Declaration Syntax

Named constants must be initialized to a specific value when they are declared. Once initialized, they can not have their value changed during the execution of the program. The syntax for a constant declaration consists of the name of the constant (see rules for identifiers), the equal sign (`=`), the initializer value for the constant and ends at the newline. Examples of statements used to declare a named constants are illustrated below.

Python does not have a enforceable notion of constant variables so we declare ordinary variables instead. We simply use the convention of all upper case names to remind us not to change these constant variables.

Questions

1. What are some examples of integer constants?
2. What are some examples of floating point constants?
3. What are some examples of string constants?

Projects

More ★'s indicate higher difficulty level.

References

• [[Python Language Reference]]
• [[Python Standard Library]]
• [[Python at TutorialsPoint]]