Python Data Type - String

We will cover Python String data type in this section.

A string is a sequence of characters, represented by binary data in the computer. And in Python, a string is a collection of unicode characters.

Python Strings are immutable.

Create Strings in Python:

A string can be created using single or double quotation marks. A multi-line string can also be created by using triple quotation marks.

x = "String of characters"
x = """Multiline

Access Elements of Strings:

Slicing operator [] is used to access characters of strings. The index starts from 0 as other Python data types.

>>> x = 'Python Programming'
>>> print('x[0] =', x[0])
>>> print('x[4:15] =', x[4:15])
'on Programm'
>>> x[4] = 'l'
TypeError: 'str' object does not support item assignment
The index must be an integer otherwise TypeError will occur.

Negative indexing:

It is allowed to use negative indexes to access characters in the string. For example, index -1 refers to the last character. Similarly, index -2 refers to the second last character.

>>> s = "Python"
>>> print(s[-1])
>>> print(s[-2])
>>> print(s[-3])

Delete Characters From a String:

As strings are immutable, therefore, the characters from a string cannot be deleted. But you can assign a new string to the same name. This is demonstrated in the code below:

>>> s = 'Python'
>>> s = 'Program'
>>> s

The entire string can be deleted using del keyword:

>>> del s

Python string operations:

There are a number of operations that can be performed on strings; some of them are as follows:

Concatenate Two Or More Strings:

Two or more strings can be concatenated by using + operator.

>>> s1 = 'Python '
>>> s2 = 'Programming'
>>> print(s1 + s2)
'Python Programming'

If you write two strings together, it will concatenate the strings as the + operator does:

>>> print('Python ' 'Programming')
'Python Programming'

Parenthesis can also be used to concatenate two strings when the strings are in multiple lines.

>>> s = ('Python '
>>> s
'Pyhton Programming'

Iterate Through Strings:

You can iterate through a list by using for loop:

s = 'Python'
for i in s:

String Membership Check:

The in keyword is used to check the existence of a substring in a string.

>>> s = 'Python'
>>> print('a' in s)
>>> print('o' in s)

Built-in Functions Applicable to Strings:

The functions that are applied to other types of sequences can also be applicable to strings. The commonly used functions are len() to find the number of characters in a string, and enumerate() which returns an object containing index and value of elements in the string as a pair.

Python String Formatting:

Escape sequence:

Escape sequences are used when you want to print the special symbols (that has special meanings in Python) on the output stream. For example, if you want to print:

James asked, "Do you know Andrew's place?"

Here you cannot use either single or double quotation marks because the text contains both quotation marks. If you try to put this strings inside single or double quotations, you will have SyntaxError.

>>> print("James asked, "Do you know Andrew's place?"")
SyntaxError: invalid syntax
>>> print('James asked, "Do you know Andrew's place?"')	  
SyntaxError: invalid syntax

The solution to this problem is that you use either triple quotation marks or escape sequences. In Python, an escape sequence starts from a backslash. A backslash is an instruction to the interpreter.

If you are using single quotes in print statement, then all the single quotes from the text should be escaped. And in the same way, double quotes from the text should be escaped if you are using double quotes to represent a string.

#using triple quotation marks
print('''James asked, "Do you know Andrew's place?"''')

#escaping single quotes
print('James asked, "Do you know Andrew\'s place?"')

#escaping double quotes
print("James asked, \"Do you know Andrew's place?\"")

Consider the following table in which escape sequences of Python are described:

Escape sequence Description
\\ escapes backslash
\' escapes single quotes
\" escapes double quotes
\a an ASCII alert or bell
\b generates a backspace
\f generates Formfeed
\n generates a new line.
\r carriage return
\t generates a horizontal tab
\v generates a vertical tab
\ooo octal character ooo
\xHH hexadecimal character HH
>>> print("C:\\User\\Python36-32\\Lib")
>>> print("First Line\nSecond Line")
First Line
Second Line

Raw String r to Ignore Escape Sequence:

You can ignore the escape sequence in a string by making it a raw string that is indicated by r or R before the string.

In a raw string escape sequences are ignored. See the following example:

#without r
>>> print("C:\\User\\Python36-32\\Lib")

#with r  
>>> print(r"C:\\User\\Python36-32\\Lib")

You here that escape sequence is ignored.

The String format() Method:

The format() method is a powerful tool to format strings. In the formatted strings, you have placeholders {} that are replaced by format() method.

The positional and keyword arguments are used to specify the order of the replacement.

#default placeholder
>>> s1 = "{}, {} and {}".format('Bread', 'Butter', 'Chocolate')
>>> print(s1)
'Bread, Butter and Chocolate'

#positional arguments
>>> s2 = "{1}, {2} and {0}".format('Bread', 'Butter', 'Chocolate')	  
>>> print(s2)
'Butter, Chocolate and Bread'

#keyword arguments
>>> s3 = "{a}, {x} and {c}".format(x = 'Bread', c = 'Butter', a = 'Chocolate')	  
>>> print(s3)
'Chocolate, Bread and Butter'