Discover The Python Elif & What It Can Do For Your Program Software Development

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Athena Ozanich
Athena Ozanich



Python offers several ways to improve your code and write cleaner and DRY-er code. At first glance, these may not seem significant in the way of improvement potential. But the best thing you can do with your code is to write clean, easy-to-read code, which helps prevent possible errors or buggy behavior.

A young woman discovering the power of Python elif statements and how they can help her improve her software development.

This post will teach you about Python elif and its use. You will also learn how elif can improve your software code. Finally, you will see some code examples showcasing simple yet applicable ways they are often used.

Let's slither right into it!

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What is Elif in Python?

In Python, if-else blocks behave predictably but are also uniquely strict compared to other programming languages. One way it is stricter is that it can only have one if section and one else section. Extending an if-else block is done with another keyword. Let's see the standard if-else block in the code block below.

if test expression: Body of if

The above code is an example of a standard if block without an else statement. The if statement is a simple block of code that runs an expression and then evaluates the result as either true or false. If the result of the expression is true, it will run the body of the if block. If it returns false, nothing happens.

An else statement can extend the functionality of an if block by providing an alternative behavior or action to perform. This alternative option is only run if the expression evaluates as false. The process for adding an else statement can be seen in the code block below.

if test expression: Body of if else: Body of else

The code above shows the syntax for creating a functional if-else block, which is far more helpful than the standard if block. You can improve this code further by adding the elif statement, which can be used often within an if-else statement. Let's look at the syntax for an elif statement and see how it works in the section below.

How to Use Elif in Python

With an elif statement, you can add additional conditional statements that allow for more than one way to respond to the initial if statement. In Python, elif is a keyword that represents else-if which can be added as many times as you need to extend an if-else's functionality. Before looking at some code, check out the next video to learn a little more about how the elif works in Python.

Each additional elif statement can improve your options for processing specific tasks and data. The catch here is that you must remember that among all of the if-elif-else block statements, only the first passing one within the block will be run. Now let's look at the syntax for adding an elif to an if-else statement.

if test expression: Body of if elif test expression: Body of elif else: Body of else

The above code includes one elif statement within the if-else block, which allows you to add a new test expression. If the statement fails, the block will test the expression within the elif. Should it pass, the block within will run. Otherwise, the following statement will run. It is also possible to add more elifs to an if-else block.

Elif Example Python

Let's drive this information home with code examples of if blocks and look at how you can build some powerful if-elif-else blocks. One powerful way you can use an if-elif-else block is to perform permission checks, such as if a user is logged into your software or has any restrictions on their account.

user = { "permissions": "restricted", "loggedIn": False, "guest": True } if user["permissions"] != "restricted": print("You have permissions") elif user["loggedIn"] != False: print("You are logged in") else: print("You are a guest")

This code above will test specific values within the if-elif-else block to see if the values pass the test expression. In this example, the user has restricted access and is not logged in; therefore, the block runs, and the first two expressions fail. As a result, the else statement runs and, in this case, passes the final expression.

Depending on what you want to accomplish, you may need to add additional elif statements to your block. Another way to use if-elif-else blocks is for error-catching, a common task in software development. Let's look at some pseudo code of what it could look like to catch errors and respond to them using the if-elif-else blocks.

errorCode = "401" if errorCode == "404": print("Looks like you took a wrong turn") elif errorCode == "500": print("Looks like our server took a wrong turn") elif errorCode == "401": print("Oh noes, you aren't allowed in there") elif errorCode == "508": print("You've found the infamous infinity loop") else: print("You are a guest")

This code block showcases one way you can use the if-elif-else block to handle several different error codes. This example isn't the most elegant way to handle errors, but it works great for showcasing the flexibility of the if-elif-else block in your code.

You can also use Python Lambda functions in your if-elif-else blocks to further enhance the functionality of your software code.

How to Move Forward With Python Elif

With the information provided in this post, you are armed with all the information you need to start using elif in your software code. You have learned what Python elif is and how to use it to improve if-else blocks of code and expand their functionality. You have also seen examples of how they are used and learned how you could use them.

Moving forward, the best thing you can do is start using them to create simple if-else blocks and use those to build more powerful blocks of code. Another great way to practice using elif is to go through any code you've written and try to clean up the code using elifs in your if blocks.


Topics: What Is Python?

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