What is Ord in Python?

Python is a dynamic and versatile language, filled with built-in functions to simplify coding tasks. One such function is the `ord` function. In this guide, we will go in-depth into the Python `ord` function, its utility, syntax, and application in various scenarios.

1. Understanding the Basics

1.1 What is `ord` in Python?

The `ord` function in Python is a built-in function that returns an integer representing the Unicode character. The name `ord` is short for *ordinal*, which means a number representing the position of a particular item in a series, hence its usage in returning a character’s position in the Unicode series.

1.2 Syntax of `ord`

The syntax for using the `ord` function is quite straightforward. It takes a single character string as an argument and returns an integer.


Where `char` is the character string.


2. Working with `ord` Function

2.1 Simple Example of `ord` Function

Here’s a simple example of the `ord` function in action.

print(ord('a'))  # Output: 97

This will output 97, which is the Unicode code point of the character ‘a’.

2.2 `ord` Function and Unicode Characters

The `ord` function isn’t limited to ASCII characters. It can be used with any Unicode character. Let’s try it with a Greek character.

print(ord('α'))  # Output: 945

This will output 945, which is the Unicode code point of the Greek character ‘α’.


3. Practical Applications of `ord` Function

3.1 Converting Case of a Character

Did you know that the `ord` function can be used to convert the case of a character? Here’s how:

def to_uppercase(char):
return chr(ord(char) - 32) if 'a' <= char <= 'z' else char
def to_lowercase(char):
return chr(ord(char) + 32) if 'A' <= char <= 'Z' else char

In these functions, we are making use of the fact that the ASCII values of lowercase and uppercase versions of the same letter differ by exactly 32.

3.2 Checking If Characters Are Digits

Another practical application of the `ord` function is to check if a character is a digit.

def is_digit(char):
return ord('0') <= ord(char) <= ord('9')

This function will return `True` if the character is a digit and `False` otherwise.


4. Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

It’s important to note that the `ord` function only works with single characters. If you pass a string with more than one character, you’ll get a `TypeError`. To avoid this, ensure that you’re always passing a single character to the `ord` function.


5. Wrapping Up

The Python `ord` function is a simple yet powerful tool that can make your coding life easier. Whether you’re manipulating Unicode characters, converting character cases, or even validating inputs, `ord` can come in handy in numerous situations.


6. FAQ

1. Can I use the `ord` function with multiple characters?

No, the `ord` function only works with single characters. If you attempt to use it with a string of more than one character, you will receive a `TypeError`.

2. Can the `ord` function handle non-ASCII characters?

Yes, the `ord` function can handle any Unicode character.

3. What does `ord` stand for?

`ord` is short for *ordinal*, which refers to a number representing a position of a particular item in a series. In this case, it returns the position of a character in the Unicode series.

4. How can I convert a number back to a character?

You can convert a number back to a character using the `chr` function in Python. This function takes an integer as an argument and returns the corresponding character.

5. Can I use `ord` to convert the case of a character?

Yes, you can use `ord` to convert the case of a character. By adding or subtracting 32 from the `ord` value of a character, you can switch its case from lower to upper or vice versa.

As Python continues to evolve, so does its vast array of built-in functions like `ord`. These functions make coding in Python a simpler and more streamlined process, enabling developers to focus on complex logic rather than reinventing the wheel. With the `ord` function, you have a handy tool that can assist you in numerous situations. Keep exploring, keep learning, and you’ll continue to discover how Python’s simplicity can solve complex problems.