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Master Python Basics: Math Calculations, String Manipulation, and More

Updated: at 01:12 PM

Python is a versatile, beginner-friendly programming language used for a wide range of applications from web development and data analysis to machine learning. Its simple syntax, rich standard library, and extensive third-party modules allow developers to quickly write programs to accomplish tasks. This guide will demonstrate how to write Python scripts to perform basic mathematical calculations and text manipulations—essential skills for automating workflows, processing data, and building more complex applications.

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Overview of Python Calculations and String Manipulation

Python includes many built-in functions and operators to carry out numeric computations and evaluate mathematical expressions. Developers can perform common operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, exponentiation, modulo division, and more using concise syntax. Python also provides extensive string manipulation capabilities. Strings can be indexed, sliced, formatted, searched, and transformed using Python’s string methods and formatting mini-language.

This guide will cover the following topics using hands-on examples:

Understanding these core concepts will provide a solid foundation for writing Python scripts that can crunch numbers, parse text data, and manipulate string outputs.

Performing Basic Arithmetic Calculations

Python supports the standard arithmetic operators for mathematical calculations:

Let’s walk through some examples:

# Addition
print(5 + 2) # Outputs 7

# Subtraction
print(10 - 3) # Outputs 7

# Multiplication
print(4 * 5) # Outputs 20

# Division
print(16 / 4) # Outputs 4.0

# Exponentiation
print(3 ** 4) # Outputs 81

# Modulo
print(10 % 3) # Outputs 1

Python supports both integer and floating-point arithmetic. The / divider always returns a float value, even when dividing integers. The // operator can be used for integer division, truncating any fractional part.

print(10 / 3) # 3.3333333333333335
print(10 // 3) # 3

Calculations can be performed on variables by assigning values and expressing operations:

width = 15
height = 12
area = width * height

print(area) # 180

Following the standard order of operations, expressions in parentheses are evaluated first:

print(2 * (3 + 4)) # 14
print(2 * 3 + 4) # 10

In summary, Python provides concise syntax and operators for all basic math calculations needed in scripts.

Using Built-in Math Functions

Beyond the basic operators, Python includes numerous math functions in the math module of the standard library. Some common examples include:

To use the math functions, import the module:

import math

print(math.floor(12.5)) # 12
print(math.ceil(12.5)) # 13
print(math.sqrt(25)) # 5.0
print(math.pow(2, 3)) # 8
print(math.log(8, 2)) # 3.0

These provide additional mathematical capabilities without needing to write long expressions yourself. Python’s math module includes many more advanced functions as well like hyperbolic trigonometry, factorials, GCDs, etc.

Type Conversions and Rounding

When performing calculations in Python, sometimes variables may need to be converted between data types or results rounded to a specific precision.

The int(), float() and round() functions are useful for this:

x = 1.345

print(int(x)) # 1

y = 5

print(float(y)) # 5.0

z = 1.678
print(round(z, 1)) # 1.7 Rounded to 1 decimal

print(round(z)) # 2 Rounded to nearest integer

Type conversions allow seamlessly moving between integer and float representations during math operations and data processing.

The second argument of round() specifies the number of decimals to round to. Omitting it rounds to the nearest whole number.

Formatted String Output with f-strings

Python f-strings provide a concise way to embed expressions and variable values directly inside string literals for formatting:

name = "John"
age = 25
print(f"Hello, my name is {name}. I am {age} years old.")

# Prints: Hello, my name is John. I am 25 years old.

This f'' syntax replaces the placeholders {name} and {age} with their variable values. Expressions can also be included inside the braces:

print(f"In 5 years, I will be {age + 5} years old")

# Prints: In 5 years, I will be 30 years old

f-strings provide an easy way to interpolate Python variables and generate dynamic string outputs without concatenation.

They support all the formatting options of the str.format() method like padding, numerical precision, date formatting, etc:

price = 24.583
print(f"The price is {price:.2f}") # The price is 24.58

In summary, f-strings are quite useful when building scripts that produce formatted output for reporting or integration.

Common String Methods in Python

Python has over 50 built-in string methods that can be called on string objects to manipulate and transform text data. Here are some commonly used ones:

1. Changing case:

s = "Hello World"

print(s.upper()) # "HELLO WORLD"
print(s.lower()) # "hello world"
print(s.title()) # "Hello World"

2. Searching and replacing:

s = "apples and oranges"

print(s.count("and")) # 1

print(s.replace("and", "or")) # "apples or oranges"

3. Checking content:

s = "Python strings"

print("Python" in s) # True
print("python" in s) # False

print(s.startswith("Python")) # True
print(s.endswith("strings")) # True

4. Splitting and joining:

s = "Python,JavaScript,C++"

print(s.split(",")) # ["Python", "JavaScript", "C++"]

langs = ["Python","C++","Java"]
print("-".join(langs)) # "Python-C++-Java"

These are just a few examples of the many options available for manipulating string data in Python scripts.

Using Regular Expressions

Regular expressions provide powerful pattern matching capabilities in Python. They can be used to search, extract, replace, and validate string content.

Here are some examples of common regex tasks:

1. Finding pattern matches:

import re

pattern = r"grocery"

s = "Visit the grocery store"

matches = re.findall(pattern, s)
print(matches) # ['grocery']

2. Extracting matches:

s = "Apples - $1.49 per lb"

price_regex = r"\$([\d.]+)"

matches = re.search(price_regex, s)
print(float(matches.group(1))) # 1.49

3. Replacing matches:

s = "The dog is playing fetch"

s = re.sub(r"dog", "cat", s)
print(s) # The cat is playing fetch

4. Validating strings:

regex = r"^[A-Za-z0-9_.+-]+@[A-Za-z0-9-]+\.[a-z0-9-.]+$"

print(re.search(regex, "[email protected]")) # Matches
print(re.search(regex, "testing")) # None

This provides a brief overview of how powerful regular expressions are for advanced string processing and validation.

Practical Examples and Use Cases

Now that we’ve covered the building blocks, let’s walk through some practical examples of how these concepts come together in real Python scripts:

1. Distance Conversion Script

This script converts distance measurements from kilometers to miles:

# Units conversion
KM_TO_MILES = 0.62137

def km_to_miles(km):
  miles = km * KM_TO_MILES
  return miles

km = 10.5
print(f"{km} km is equal to {km_to_miles(km):.2f} miles")

# Output:
# 10.5 km is equal to 6.52 miles

It defines a constant ratio, conversion function, performs the calculation on a sample input, and prints a formatted string output.

2. Monthly Sales Report

This script generates a text report summarizing product sales for a month:

sales = {
  "apples": 65,
  "oranges": 35,
  "pears": 48
}

total = sum(sales.values())

print(f"Monthly Sales Report \n")

for product, qty in sales.items():
  print(f"{product.title()}: {qty} units")

print(f"\nTotal Sales: {total} units")

# Output:
# Monthly Sales Report
#
# Apples: 65 units
# Oranges: 35 units
# Pears: 48 units
#
# Total Sales: 148 units

It uses a dictionary to store the data, calculates the summary statistics, and generates a formatted multi-line output report.

3. Password Strength Checker

This script checks if a password meets strength criteria using regex:

import re

password = input("Enter a new password: ")

regex = r"^(?=.*[a-z])(?=.*[A-Z])(?=.*[0-9])(?=.*[!@#$%]).{8,24}$"

if re.search(regex, password):
  print("Strong password")
else:
  print("Weak password. Must be 8-24 characters with at least one uppercase, lowercase, number and special symbol.")

# Example usage:
# Enter a new password: hello@123
# Weak password. Must be 8-24 characters with at least one uppercase, lowercase, number and special symbol.

This shows how calculators, reports, validators, and other tools can be built rapidly with Python.

Summary

This guide covered several fundamental techniques for performing calculations, formatting strings, and manipulating text in Python:

With these core skills, developers can automate everyday tasks, process data, generate reports, and build more complex scripts and applications in Python. The standard libraries provide many additional modules for mathematical, statistical, text processing, I/O, web scraping, and other tasks.

Python strikes a unique balance between concise, readable code and extensive functionality. By mastering basic math and string manipulation, programmers can take advantage of Python’s strengths to write scripts that are productive, maintainable, and easily extensible. This guide provided examples and use cases to demonstrate applied concepts, but there are countless more possibilities.