__future__ in Python

Hemank Mehtani Oct 10, 2023
  1. Use __future__ for print_function in Python
  2. Use __future__ for unicode_laterals in Python
  3. Use __future__ for Division in Python
  4. Use __future__ for Absolute_import in Python
  5. Use __future__ for annotations in Python
  6. Use __future__ for Nested Scopes
  7. Use __future__ for Python Generators
  8. Use __future__ for the with Statement
__future__ in Python

__future__ was introduced in Python 2.1, and its statements change how Python interprets the code. It tells the interpreter to compile some statements as those statements that will be available in future Python versions, i.e., Python uses from __future__ import feature to backport the features from higher Python versions to the current interpreter.

Whenever you see from __future__ import, it means that a feature from the latest or an upcoming release of Python has been backported into an earlier version.

This tutorial will discuss features already enabled in Python 3 in earlier versions of Python using __future__.

Use __future__ for print_function in Python

Using the print keyword as a function instead of a statement brings a lot of flexibility to it, which helps extend the print keyword’s ability. The main function of from __future__ import print_function is to bring the print function from Python 3 into Python 2.

For example,

from __future__ import print_function

for x in range(0, 10):
    print(x, sep=" ", end="")



Note that print here is used as a function, which was earlier used as a statement in Python 2.x

Use __future__ for unicode_laterals in Python

This allows you to change the type of string literals.

String literals are str by default in Python 2, but if we use from __future__ import unicode_literals, the type of string literal changes to Unicode.

For example,



<type 'str'> 

But with from __future__ import unicode_literals we get the following output.

from __future__ import unicode_literals 


<type 'unicode'>

Note that using from __future__ import, we don’t have to prefix every string with u to treat it as a Unicode.

Use __future__ for Division in Python

In Python 2.x versions, the classic division is used.

print(8 / 7)



A simple division of 8 by 7 returns 0 in Python 2.x.

The use of from __future__ import division allows a Python 2 program to use __truediv__().

For example,

from __future__ import division

print(8 / 7)



Use __future__ for Absolute_import in Python

In Python 2, you could only have implicit relative imports, whereas in Python 3, you can have explicit imports or absolute imports. __future__ import absolute_import allows the parenthesis to have multiple import statements enclosed within the brackets.

For example,

from Tkinter import Tk, Frame, Button, Entry, Canvas, Text, LEFT, DISABLED, NORMAL, END

Note that without the __future__ import absolute_import feature, you will not be able to enclose multiple import statements in one line of code.

Use __future__ for annotations in Python

Annotations are Python expressions associated with different parts of a function.

Here, using from __future__ import annotations changes how to type annotations are evaluated in a Python module. It postpones the evaluation of annotations and magically treats all annotations as differed annotations.

For example,

from __future__ import annotations

class C:
    def make(cls) -> C:
        return cls

Note that the above code would only work if the __future__ import is written at the top of the code, as it changes how Python interprets the code, i.e., it treats the annotations as individual strings.

Use __future__ for Nested Scopes

With the addition of __future__ import nested_scopes, statically nested scopes have been introduced to Python. It allows the following types of code to run without returning an error.

def h():

    def m(value):
        return m(value - 1) + 1


Note that the above code would have raised a NameError before Python 2.1.

Use __future__ for Python Generators

A generator is a function in Python defined as a regular function. Still, it does that with the “yield” keyword rather than the return whenever it needs to generate a specific value.

Here, with the use of from __future__ import generators , generator functions were introduced to save states between successive function calls.

For example,

def gen():
    c, d = 0, 1
    while 1:
        yield d
        c, d = d, c + d

Use __future__ for the with Statement

This eliminates the use of the try...except statements by adding the statement with as a keyword in Python. It is mainly used while doing file I/O, as shown in the example below.

with open("workfile", "h") as a:
    read_data = a.read()