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Modules and Namespacing in Python

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In Python, a module is a file containing Python definitions and statements. Modules are used to group related code together, and they provide a way to organize code and make it more reusable.

Python comes with a large standard library that includes many useful modules, such as os for interacting with the operating system, sys for system-level operations, math for mathematical functions, and random for generating random numbers.

You can also create your own modules by defining functions, classes, and variables in a Python file, and then importing that file as a module in other Python code. Here’s an example:

def say_hello(name):
    print(f"Hello, {name}!")

PI = 3.14159

In this example, we define a module called mymodule that contains a function called say_hello() and a variable called PI. We can then use this module in other Python code by importing it with the import statement:

import mymodule

mymodule.say_hello("Alice")    # Output: Hello, Alice!
print(mymodule.PI)             # Output: 3.14159

In this example, we import the mymodule module and call the say_hello() function with the argument “Alice”. We also print out the value of the PI variable in the mymodule module.

Python also provides a way to import specific functions or variables from a module using the from … import statement. Here’s an example:

from mymodule import say_hello

say_hello("Bob")    # Output: Hello, Bob!

In this example, we import only the say_hello() function from the mymodule module using the from … import statement, and then call the function with the argument “Bob”. This is a useful way to import only the parts of a module that you need, and to avoid polluting your namespace with unnecessary names.

Namespacing in Python

In Python, a namespace is a mapping from names to objects, and it’s used to avoid naming conflicts between different parts of a program. Every module has its own namespace, which is created when the module is imported. The global namespace is the namespace of the top-level code of a module or script.

Namespaces are hierarchical, which means that they can contain other namespaces. For example, a module’s namespace can contain function and class namespaces, and a function’s namespace can contain variable and function namespaces.

When you use a name in your code, Python looks for the name in the current namespace, and then in any parent namespaces. If the name is not found, Python raises a NameError.

Here’s an example of how namespaces work in Python:

x = 10

def foo():
    y = 20
    print("x =", x)    # Accesses x from the module namespace
    print("y =", y)    # Accesses y from the function namespace

print("x =", x)        # Accesses x from the module namespace
print("y =", y)        # Raises NameError: name 'y' is not defined

In this example, we define a module called mymodule that contains a variable called x and a function called foo(). The foo() function also defines a variable called y. When we call the foo() function, it accesses the x and y variables from its own namespace. When we try to print out the y variable outside of the foo() function, we get a NameError because y is not defined in the global namespace.

Namespaces are a powerful feature of Python that allow you to organize your code and avoid naming conflicts. By using namespaces effectively, you can write clear, modular, and reusable code.


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