Namespaces and Scoping in Python

Variables are names (identifiers) that map to objects. A namespace is a dictionary of variable names (keys) and their corresponding objects (values).

A Python statement can access variables in a local namespace and in the global namespace. If a local and a global variable have the same name, the local variable shadows the global variable.

Each function has its own local namespace. Class methods follow the same scoping rule as ordinary functions.

Python makes educated guesses on whether variables are local or global. It assumes that any variable assigned a value in a function is local.

Therefore, in order to assign a value to a global variable within a function, you must first use the global statement.

The statement global VarName tells Python that VarName is a global variable. Python stops searching the local namespace for the variable.

For example, we define a variable Money in the global namespace. Within the function Money, we assign Money a value, therefore Python assumes Money as a local variable. However, we accessed the value of the local variable Money before setting it, so an UnboundLocalError is the result. Uncommenting the global statement fixes the problem.

Money = 2000
def AddMoney():
# Uncomment the following line to fix the code:
# global Money
Money = Money + 1
print Money
print Money

Updated on: 30-Jan-2020


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