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Getting Python Code Indentation Right

Indentation is very important in Python and PEP 8 lays out a couple of rules for it:

  • Use four consecutive spaces to indicate indentation
  • Prefer spaces over tabs.

This lesson will show you how to apply these two rules and the different ways you can use indentation to improve readability.

Comments & Discussion

W Patrick Jones on April 22, 2019

Nothing on multi-line string assignements? That and really long SQL statements are the ones that always confuse me on where to indent.

Joe Tatusko RP Team on April 22, 2019

I usually bring the indent to the where the opening quotation character is on the next line to keep it in a nice block.

For the long SQL statements I’ll generally start a multiline string with nothing in the first line, then have everything non-indented to keep it grouped like it would be outside of Python (if I can’t use something like SQLAlchemy to be more Pythonic)

Abby Jones on June 25, 2019

I’ve set up my VIM env to limit tabs to 4 spaces. Is that still okay?

Joe Tatusko RP Team on June 26, 2019

Of course! I have all my editors set to turn pressing the tab key into 4 spaces. No need to bash the spacebar 4 times everytime you need to indent. The big thing is what character is actually saved in the file, 4 spaces or one tab

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