When documenting Python, when should I use docstrings and when should I use comments?

Asked by: Johnny Morano

Inline comments are unnecessary and in fact distracting if they state the obvious. A docstring is a string literal that occurs as the first statement in a module, function, class, or method definition. Docstrings are for people who are going to be using your code without needing or wanting to know how it works.

What is the difference between comments and docstrings in Python?

Comments in Python improve the readability of the program, it explains the code in a language that is easy to understand whereas docstrings describe what the code does, it does not explain how the code works.

What is the difference between the comments and the docstrings?

A quick recap on comments vs docstrings:

Use comments to explain how code works. Comments are great for leaving notes for people working on your program. Docstrings provide documentation about functions, classes, and modules. Use docstrings to teach other developers how to use your program.

What are Python docstrings used for?

A Python docstring is a string used to document a Python module, class, function or method, so programmers can understand what it does without having to read the details of the implementation. Also, it is a common practice to generate online (html) documentation automatically from docstrings.

Should you use docstrings?

Docstrings are not necessary for non-public methods, but you should have a comment that describes what the method does. This comment should appear after the def line. PEP 257 describes good docstring conventions.

Are docstrings like comments?

The docstring is written simply like multiline comments using multiline strings but it must be the first statement in the object’s definition. A docstring for a class in python is declared as follows.

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Why are Python comments important?

Using comments within your Python programs helps to make your programs more readable for humans, including your future self. Including appropriate comments that are relevant and useful can make it better for others to collaborate with you on programming projects and make the value of your code more clear.

What are the different types of comments in Python?

What Are the Different Types of Comments in Python? There are three types of comments: single-line, multi-line, and docstring comments.

How do you comment in Python?

A comment in Python starts with the hash character, # , and extends to the end of the physical line. A hash character within a string value is not seen as a comment, though. To be precise, a comment can be written in three ways – entirely on its own line, next to a statement of code, and as a multi-line comment block.

How do you add a docstring in Python?

As mentioned above, Python docstrings are strings used right after the definition of a function, method, class, or module (like in Example 1). They are used to document our code. We can access these docstrings using the __doc__ attribute.

Should I use docstrings in Python?

Inline comments are unnecessary and in fact distracting if they state the obvious. A docstring is a string literal that occurs as the first statement in a module, function, class, or method definition. Docstrings are for people who are going to be using your code without needing or wanting to know how it works.

What are docstrings how are they useful?

Answer. Python documentation strings (ordocstrings) provide a convenient way of associating documentation with Python modules, functions, classes, and methods. It’s specified in source code that is used, like a comment, to document a specific segment of code.

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How do you write a good docstring in Python?

Best practices

  1. All modules, classes, methods, and functions, including the __init__ constructor in packages should have docstrings.
  2. Descriptions are capitalized and have end-of-sentence punctuation.
  3. Always use “””Triple double quotes.””” around docstrings.
  4. Docstrings are not followed by a blank line.

What should be in docstrings?

The docstring for a module should generally list the classes, exceptions and functions (and any other objects) that are exported by the module, with a one-line summary of each. (These summaries generally give less detail than the summary line in the object’s docstring.)

How do you write documentation for a Python project?

  1. Step 1: Set up Read the Docs. Read the Docs (RTD) hosts open source project docs for free! …
  2. Step 2: Install and Configure Sphinx. …
  3. Step 3: Create Doc Files. …
  4. Step 4: Add Docstrings. …
  5. Step 5: Add Badges to README. …
  6. Step 6: Create Issue and PR Templates.
  7. How do you comment out a class in Python?

    Python comments start with the # character and extend to the end of the line. We can start a comment from the start of the line, after some whitespaces or code. If the hash character is present in a string literal, it’s part of the string.

    What is the purpose of adding a comment in the program?

    In computer programming, a comment is a programmer-readable explanation or annotation in the source code of a computer program. They are added with the purpose of making the source code easier for humans to understand, and are generally ignored by compilers and interpreters.

    Where do I put comments in Python code?

    Unlike most other programming languages, Python has no built-in syntax for creating multi-line comments. Above, we placed the # symbol on each line to continue writing our comment. In this next example, we are going to use multi-line strings (starts and ends with three quotation marks) to nest our comment.

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