Earlier we saw a code segment where we used the raw_input and int functions to read and parse an integer number entered by the user. We also saw how treacherous doing this could be:
>>> speed = raw_input(prompt)What...is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?What do you mean, an African or a European swallow?>>> int(speed)ValueError: invalid literal for int()>>>
When we are executing these statements in the Python interpreter, we get a new prompt from the interpreter, think “oops” and move on to our next statement.
However if this code is placed in a Python script and this error occurs, your script immediately stops in its tracks with a traceback. It does not execute the following statement.
Here is a sample program to convert a Fahrenheit temperature to a Celsius temperature:
inp = raw_input('Enter Fahrenheit Temperature:')fahr = float(inp)cel = (fahr - 32.0) * 5.0 / 9.0 print cel
If we execute this code and give it invalid input, it simply fails with an unfriendly error message:
python fahren.pyEnter Fahrenheit Temperature:7222.2222222222 python fahren.pyEnter Fahrenheit Temperature:fredTraceback (most recent call last): File "fahren.py", line 2, in <module> fahr = float(inp)ValueError: invalid literal for float(): fred
There is a conditional execution structure built into Python to handle these types of expected and unexpected errors called “try / except”. The idea of try and except is that you know that some sequence of instruction(s) may have a problem and you want to add some statements to be executed if an error occurs. These extra statements (the except block) are ignored if there is no error.
You can think of the try and except feature in Python as an “insurance policy” on a sequence of statements.
We can rewrite our temperature converter as follows:
inp = raw_input('Enter Fahrenheit Temperature:') try: fahr = float(inp) cel = (fahr - 32.0) * 5.0 / 9.0 print cel except: print 'Please enter a number'
Python starts by executing the sequence of statements in the try block. If all goes well, it skips the except block and proceeds. If an exception occurs in the try block, Python jumps out of the try block and executes the sequence of statements in the except block.
python fahren2.pyEnter Fahrenheit Temperature:7222.2222222222 python fahren2.pyEnter Fahrenheit Temperature:fredPlease enter a number
Handling an exception with a try statement is c alled catching an exception. In this example, the except clause prints an error message. In general, catching an exception gives you a chance to fix the problem, or try again, or at least end the program gracefully.