Working With Strings In Python

by HSG on Oct 30, 2012 in Python Tutorial

In this tutorial we are going to take a look at how you work with strings in Python. Now, any language worth its salt will have a number of options for working with text and Python is probably one of the best to use when it comes to processing text.

If you are new to programming in general you may be wondering what a string is. In terms of programming, a string is classed as any sequence of characters you can type with your keyboard, and let’s face it, if you want your application to be of any use to yourself or other users then you need it to tell you what it’s doing or to prompt you for an action, and that is where strings come into play.

They are your applications way of communicating with the user. Without the ability to enter and display text or software would be pretty useless.

So, how would you create a string in Python? Take a look at the following code:

     myString = “Hi there. I am a string”

First we create a variable called myString. Next we use the equals operator to give it the value of the text enclosed in double quotes.

If you wanted to display that text when your application is run, then you would use the print statement like so:

     print myString

Seems easy enough so far, right? There are of course other ways you can work with textual data. For example, if you wanted to join two strings you would use the plus operator as shown in the code below:

     stringOne = “I am string one. “

     stringTwo = “I am string two. “

     myString = stringOne + stringTwo

In the above example if you were to use the print statement on the myString variable you would get: I am string one. I am string two.

Python also comes with functions which can make working on strings very easy. If you wanted to find the number of times a certain word appears within a string you could use the count function like so:

     myString = “This is a string. This is a string”

     stringCount = myString.count(”This”)

     print stringCount

In the example above we create out variable and assign it some text. On line two we create another variable to hold the value of the count function. You will notice that we give the count function a word (another string). What we are doing there is telling it to check the original string for the number of times that word appears. Lastly we print out our results, which if you followed along and used the same code as above should be two.

This is just a taster of the string functions available to you. There are many others which perform a multitude of tasks such as capitalizing all words in a string, and there are others for splitting a string into tokens and much more. Python has a function for pretty much anything you would want to do with strings.

Don’t be afraid to have a play around with them, experimentation is a great way to learn any new language.

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