Python Language Accessing int literals' attributes


Example

You might have heard that everything in Python is an object, even literals. This means, for example, 7 is an object as well, which means it has attributes. For example, one of these attributes is the bit_length. It returns the amount of bits needed to represent the value it is called upon.

x = 7
x.bit_length()
# Out: 3

Seeing the above code works, you might intuitively think that 7.bit_length() would work as well, only to find out it raises a SyntaxError. Why? because the interpreter needs to differentiate between an attribute access and a floating number (for example 7.2 or 7.bit_length()). It can't, and that's why an exception is raised.

There are a few ways to access an int literals' attributes:

# parenthesis
(7).bit_length()
# a space
7 .bit_length()

Using two dots (like this 7..bit_length()) doesn't work in this case, because that creates a float literal and floats don't have the bit_length() method.

This problem doesn't exist when accessing float literals' attributes since the interperter is "smart" enough to know that a float literal can't contain two ., for example:

7.2.as_integer_ratio()
# Out: (8106479329266893, 1125899906842624)