8. Top-level components
The Python interpreter can get its input from a number of sources: from a script passed to it as standard input or as program argument, typed in interactively, from a module source file, etc. This chapter gives the syntax used in these cases.
8.1. Complete Python programs
While a language specification need not prescribe how the language interpreter
is invoked, it is useful to have a notion of a complete Python program. A
complete Python program is executed in a minimally initialized environment: all
built-in and standard modules are available, but none have been initialized,
sys (various system services),
functions, exceptions and
__main__. The latter is used to
provide the local and global namespace for execution of the complete program.
The syntax for a complete Python program is that for file input, described in the next section.
The interpreter may also be invoked in interactive mode; in this case, it does
not read and execute a complete program but reads and executes one statement
(possibly compound) at a time. The initial environment is identical to that of
a complete program; each statement is executed in the namespace of
Under Unix, a complete program can be passed to the interpreter in three forms:
-c string command line option, as a file passed as the
first command line argument, or as standard input. If the file or standard input
is a tty device, the interpreter enters interactive mode; otherwise, it executes
the file as a complete program.
8.2. File input
All input read from non-interactive files has the same form:
file_input ::= (NEWLINE |
This syntax is used in the following situations:
- when parsing a complete Python program (from a file or from a string);
- when parsing a module;
- when parsing a string passed to the
8.3. Interactive input
Input in interactive mode is parsed using the following grammar:
interactive_input ::= [
stmt_list] NEWLINE |
Note that a (top-level) compound statement must be followed by a blank line in interactive mode; this is needed to help the parser detect the end of the input.
8.4. Expression input
There are two forms of expression input. Both ignore leading whitespace. The
string argument to
eval() must have the following form:
The input line read by
input() must have the following form: