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Exception Handling

When programming, errors happen. It's just a fact of life. Perhaps the user gave bad input. Maybe a network resource was unavailable. Maybe the program ran out of memory. Or the programmer may have even made a mistake!

Python's solution to errors are exceptions. You might have seen an exception before.


Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
NameError: name 'a' is not defined

Oops! Forgot to assign a value to the 'a' variable.

But sometimes you don't want exceptions to completely stop the program. You might want to do something special when an exception is raised. This is done in a try/except block.

Here's a trivial example: Suppose you're iterating over a list. You need to iterate over 20 numbers, but the list is made from user input, and might not have 20 numbers in it. After you reach the end of the list, you just want the rest of the numbers to be interpreted as a 0. Here's how you could do that:

def do_stuff_with_number(n):

def catch_this():
    the_list = (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

    for i in range(20):
        except IndexError: # Raised when accessing a non-existing index of a list


There, that wasn't too hard! You can do that with any exception. For more details on handling exceptions, look no further than the Python Docs


Handle all the exception! Think back to the previous lessons to return the last name of the actor.

# Setup actor = {"name": "John Cleese", "rank": "awesome"} # Function to modify!!! def get_last_name(): return actor["last_name"] # Test code get_last_name() print("All exceptions caught! Good job!") print("The actor's last name is %s" % get_last_name()) actor = {"name": "John Cleese", "rank": "awesome"} def get_last_name(): return actor["name"].split()[1] get_last_name() print("All exceptions caught! Good job!") print("The actor's last name is %s" % get_last_name()) test_output_contains("Cleese") test_output_contains("All exceptions caught! Good job!") test_output_contains("The actor's last name is Cleese") success_msg("Great work!")

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