Using the AND and NOT Operator in Python


Here is my custom class that I have that represents a triangle. I'm trying to write code that checks to see if self.a, self.b, and self.c are greater than 0, which would mean that I have Angle, Angle, Angle.

Below you will see the code that checks for A and B, however when I use just self.a != 0 then it works fine. I believe I'm not using & correctly. Any ideas? Here is how I am calling it: print myTri.detType()

class Triangle:

    # Angle A To Angle C Connects Side F
    # Angle C to Angle B Connects Side D
    # Angle B to Angle A Connects Side E

    def __init__(self, a, b, c, d, e, f):
        self.a = a
        self.b = b
        self.c = c
        self.d = d
        self.e = e
        self.f = f

    def detType(self):
        #Triangle Type AAA
        if self.a != 0 & self.b != 0:
            return self.a

        #If self.a > 10:
            #return AAA

        #Triangle Type AAS

        #elif self.a = 0:
            #return AAS

        #Triangle Type ASA

        #Triangle Type SAS

        #Triangle Type SSS  

            #return unknown
7/2/2009 5:26:15 PM

Accepted Answer

You should write :

if (self.a != 0) and (self.b != 0) :

"&" is the bit wise operator and does not suit for boolean operations. The equivalent of "&&" is "and" in Python.

A shorter way to check what you want is to use the "in" operator :

if 0 not in (self.a, self.b) :

You can check if anything is part of a an iterable with "in", it works for :

  • Tuples. I.E : "foo" in ("foo", 1, c, etc) will return true
  • Lists. I.E : "foo" in ["foo", 1, c, etc] will return true
  • Strings. I.E : "a" in "ago" will return true
  • Dict. I.E : "foo" in {"foo" : "bar"} will return true

As an answer to the comments :

Yes, using "in" is slower since you are creating an Tuple object, but really performances are not an issue here, plus readability matters a lot in Python.

For the triangle check, it's easier to read :

0 not in (self.a, self.b, self.c)


(self.a != 0) and (self.b != 0) and (self.c != 0) 

It's easier to refactor too.

Of course, in this example, it really is not that important, it's very simple snippet. But this style leads to a Pythonic code, which leads to a happier programmer (and losing weight, improving sex life, etc.) on big programs.

1/27/2014 8:40:35 PM

Use the keyword and, not & because & is a bit operator.

Be careful with this... just so you know, in Java and C++, the & operator is ALSO a bit operator. The correct way to do a boolean comparison in those languages is &&. Similarly | is a bit operator, and || is a boolean operator. In Python and and or are used for boolean comparisons.

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