Python Language Getting started with Python Language Built in Modules and Functions


A module is a file containing Python definitions and statements. Function is a piece of code which execute some logic.

>>> pow(2,3)    #8

To check the built in function in python we can use dir(). If called without an argument, return the names in the current scope. Else, return an alphabetized list of names comprising (some of) the attribute of the given object, and of attributes reachable from it.

>>> dir(__builtins__)

To know the functionality of any function, we can use built in function help .

>>> help(max)
Help on built-in function max in module __builtin__:
    max(iterable[, key=func]) -> value
    max(a, b, c, ...[, key=func]) -> value
    With a single iterable argument, return its largest item.
    With two or more arguments, return the largest argument.

Built in modules contains extra functionalities.For example to get square root of a number we need to include math module.

>>> import math
>>> math.sqrt(16) # 4.0

To know all the functions in a module we can assign the functions list to a variable, and then print the variable.

>>> import math
>>> dir(math)

   ['__doc__', '__name__', '__package__', 'acos', 'acosh', 
   'asin', 'asinh', 'atan', 'atan2', 'atanh', 'ceil', 'copysign', 
   'cos', 'cosh', 'degrees', 'e', 'erf', 'erfc', 'exp', 'expm1', 
   'fabs', 'factorial', 'floor', 'fmod', 'frexp', 'fsum', 'gamma', 
   'hypot', 'isinf', 'isnan', 'ldexp', 'lgamma', 'log', 'log10', 
   'log1p', 'modf', 'pi', 'pow', 'radians', 'sin', 'sinh', 'sqrt', 
   'tan', 'tanh', 'trunc']

it seems __doc__ is useful to provide some documentation in, say, functions

>>> math.__doc__
'This module is always available.  It provides access to the\nmathematical
 functions defined by the C standard.'

In addition to functions, documentation can also be provided in modules. So, if you have a file named like this:

"""This is the module docstring."""

def sayHello():
    """This is the function docstring."""
    return 'Hello World'

You can access its docstrings like this:

>>> import helloWorld
>>> helloWorld.__doc__
'This is the module docstring.'
>>> helloWorld.sayHello.__doc__
'This is the function docstring.'
  • For any user defined type, its attributes, its class's attributes, and recursively the attributes of its class's base classes can be retrieved using dir()
>>> class MyClassObject(object):
...     pass
>>> dir(MyClassObject)
['__class__', '__delattr__', '__dict__', '__doc__', '__format__', '__getattribute__', '__hash__', '__init__', '__module__', '__new__', '__reduce__', '__reduce_ex__', '__repr__', '__setattr__', '__sizeof__', '__str__', '__subclasshook__', '__weakref__']

Any data type can be simply converted to string using a builtin function called str. This function is called by default when a data type is passed to print

>>> str(123)    # "123"