Top 18 Cool Python Tricks

What are the coolest Python tricks? I’ve compiled this list of the best Python tricks—in reverse order. Without further ado, let’s dive into those crazy one-liner Python features, tricks, and functions:

18. Modifying Iterable Elements 1/2

The function map(func, iter) executes the function func on all elements of the iterable iter.

list(map(lambda x: x[0], ['red', 'green', 'blue']))
# ['r', 'g', 'b']

Related article: Which is Faster — List Comprehension or the Map Function in Python

17. Modifying Iterable Elements 2/2

The function call map(func, i1, ..., ik) executes the function func on all k elements of the k iterables.

list(map(lambda x, y: str(x) + ' ' + y + 's' , [0, 2, 2], ['apple', 'orange', 'banana']))
# ['0 apples', '2 oranges', '2 bananas']

Related article: How to Get Rid of Python’s Map Function

16. Transform Iterables to Strings

The function call string.join(iter) concatenates all elements in an iterable iter separated by string.

' marries '.join(list(['Alice', 'Bob']))
# 'Alice marries Bob'

Related article: How to Print a Python List Beautifully

15. Filtering Iterables

The function call filter(function, iterable) filters out elements in iterable for which function returns False (or 0).

list(filter(lambda x: True if x>17 else False, [1, 15, 17, 18]))
# [18]

Related article: How to Filter in Python

14. Trim Strings

The function call string.strip() removes leading and trailing whitespaces from string.

print("    \n   \t  42  \t ".strip())
# 42

Related article: Python Trim String [Ultimate Guide]

13. Basic Sorting

The built-in function call sorted(iter) sorts iterable iter in ascending order.

sorted([8, 3, 2, 42, 5])
# [2, 3, 5, 8, 42]

Related article: Python List Sort [Ultimate Guide]

12. Custom Sorting

The built-in function call sorted(iter, key=func) sorts according to the key function func in ascending order.

sorted([8, 3, 2, 42, 5], key=lambda x: 0 if x==42 else x)
# [42, 2, 3, 5, 8]

Related article: Sorting with the Key Argument in Python

11. Help

The function call help(func) returns documentation of func.

help(str.upper)
# '... to uppercase.'

Related: Become a Python master — and Join Our Community of Tens of Thousands of Ambitious Python Coders!

10. Zip

The function call zip(i1, i2, ...) groups the k-th elements of iterators i1, i2, … together.

list(zip(['Alice', 'Anna'], ['Bob', 'Jon', 'Frank']))
# [('Alice', 'Bob'), ('Anna', 'Jon')]

Related article: Zip Function in Python

9. Unzip

Equal to:

  1. unpack the zipped list, and
  2. zip the result.
list(zip(*[('Alice', 'Bob'), ('Anna', 'Jon')]))
# [('Alice', 'Anna'), ('Bob', 'Jon')]

Related article: Unzip Function in Python

8. Smart Iteration

The function call enumerate(iter) assigns a counter (index) value to each element of the iterable iter.

list(enumerate(['Alice', 'Bob', 'Jon']))
# [(0, 'Alice'), (1, 'Bob'), (2, 'Jon')]

Related article: The Ultimate Guide to Python Lists

7. Start a Web Server

Want to share files between PC and phone? Run this command in PC’s shell. <P> is any port number 0–65535. Type <IP address of PC>:<P> in the phone’s browser. You can now browse the files in the PC directory.

python -m http.server <P>

Related article: Python One-Liner Webserver HTTP

6. Read Comic

Open the comic series xkcd in your web browser.

import antigravity

Related: Download Your Cheat Sheet “Python Tricks”

5. Zen of Python

Get valuable advice of how to write Pythonic code.

import this
# '...Beautiful is better than ugly. Explicit is ...'

Related article: About Guido’s Article: “Fate of Reduce() in Python 3000”

4. Swapping Numbers

Swapping variables is a breeze in Python. No offense, Java!

a, b = 'Jane', 'Alice'
a, b = b, a
# a = 'Alice'
# b = 'Jane'

Related article: Python Interview Questions

3. Unpacking Arguments

Use a sequence as function arguments via asterisk operator *. Use a dictionary (key, value) via double asterisk operator **.

def f(x, y, z): 
   return x + y * z
f(*[1, 3, 4])
f(**{'z' : 4, 'x' : 1, 'y' : 3})
# 13
# 13

Related article: The Asterisk Operator in Python

2. Extended Unpacking

Use unpacking for multiple assignment feature in Python.

a, *b = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
# a = 1
# b = [2, 3, 4, 5]

Related article: Python Slice Assignment

1. Merge Two Dictionaries

Use unpacking to merge two dictionaries into a single one.

x={'Alice' : 18}
y={'Bob' : 27, 'Ann' : 22}
z = {**x,**y}
# z = {'Alice': 18, 'Bob': 27, 'Ann': 22}

Related article: Python Dictionary — The Ultimate Guide

Where to Go From Here?

Enough theory, let’s get some practice!

To become successful in coding, you need to get out there and solve real problems for real people. That’s how you can become a six-figure earner easily. And that’s how you polish the skills you really need in practice. After all, what’s the use of learning theory that nobody ever needs?

Practice projects is how you sharpen your saw in coding!

Do you want to become a code master by focusing on practical code projects that actually earn you money and solve problems for people?

Then become a Python freelance developer! It’s the best way of approaching the task of improving your Python skills—even if you are a complete beginner.

Join my free webinar “How to Build Your High-Income Skill Python” and watch how I grew my coding business online and how you can, too—from the comfort of your own home.

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