What does %s mean in a python format string?


Question

What does %s mean in Python? And what does the following bit of code do?

For instance...

 if len(sys.argv) < 2:
     sys.exit('Usage: %s database-name' % sys.argv[0])

 if not os.path.exists(sys.argv[1]):
     sys.exit('ERROR: Database %s was not found!' % sys.argv[1])
1
156
8/7/2018 12:18:27 PM

Accepted Answer

It is a string formatting syntax (which it borrows from C).

Please see "PyFormat":

Python supports formatting values into strings. Although this can include very complicated expressions, the most basic usage is to insert values into a string with the %s placeholder.

Edit: Here is a really simple example:

#Python2
name = raw_input("who are you?")
print "hello %s" % (name,)

#Python3+
name = raw_input("who are you?")
print("hello %s" % (name,))

The %s token allows me to insert (and potentially format) a string. Notice that the %s token is replaced by whatever I pass to the string after the % symbol. Notice also that I am using a tuple here as well (when you only have one string using a tuple is optional) to illustrate that multiple strings can be inserted and formatted in one statement.

184
12/14/2018 9:24:11 AM

Andrew's answer is good.

And just to help you out a bit more, here's how you use multiple formatting in one string

"Hello %s, my name is %s" % ('john', 'mike') # Hello john, my name is mike".

If you are using ints instead of string, use %d instead of %s.

"My name is %s and i'm %d" % ('john', 12) #My name is john and i'm 12

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