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Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024
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eval() Function in Python

Author Monika Yadav
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Introduction

Hello Ninjas, have you ever used Python eval function while coding in Python? Do you know how we can use it? If No, then don’t worry. You are at the correct place. We will clear all your doubts.

eval function in python

In this blog, we will discuss about Python eval function. We will also learn the uses and security issues of Python eval function. We will also look at some examples. Now without wasting our time, let’s start and get to know more. Moving forward, let’s first understand a bit about Python.

About Python

Python is an interpreted and high-level programming language. This programming language is easy and simple. It is easy to read and write because it has straightforward syntax. Moreover, It has a large standard library. This library provides many useful tools and modules for developers. It is also an object-oriented language. 

About Python

Python supports classes and object concepts. It allows developers to create complex data structures and functions. These functions can be reused and shared across different programs. Moving forward, let's understand about Python eval function.

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What is eval() in Python?

In Python, the eval() function is a built-in function. It takes a string as an argument and evaluates it as an expression and returns the result of the expression. Below is a simple example of using Python eval function. For Example,

Code

expression = "4 + 9 * 7"
res = eval(expression)
print(res)  


Output

67


Explanation: In the above example, the eval() function takes the string "4 + 9 * 7". It is a Python expression and evaluates it as if it were a Python code. The output is stored in the res variable.

Uses of eval() Function in Python

In python, the eval() function is a built-in function. It evaluates a string as a Python expression and returns the result. Some common uses of the eval() function in Python are given below:

  1. Evaluation of mathematical expressions: We can use the eval() function to evaluate mathematical expressions. Mathematical expressions are entered as strings. Let’s take an example to understand the evaluation of mathematical expressions better. For example, eval('8+2') returns 10 as an output. 
     
  2. Evaluation of boolean expressions: We can use eval() to evaluate boolean expressions. Here boolean expressions are entered as strings. Let’s take an example to understand the evaluation of boolean expressions better. For example, eval('True and False') returns False as an output.
     
  3. Dynamically execute code: We can use eval() to dynamically execute code entered as strings. For better understanding, let’s look at an example, if we have a string, we can use eval() to define the function and then call it. 
     
  4. Interpret user input: We can use eval() to interpret user input. User input is entered as strings. For better understanding, let’s take an example: Say we have to build a calculator app. Here we want to allow users to enter mathematical expressions. We can use eval() to evaluate the expression entered by the user.
     
  5. Serialize and deserialize data: We can use eval() to serialize and deserialize data structures as strings. For example, we can use repr() to convert a Python object to a string. After repr(), use eval() to convert the string back to the original object.

Examples of eval() Function with Code

Here are some examples of how the eval() function can be used in Python:


Example: Evaluation of mathematical expressions

Code

expression = 'x*(x+3)'
print(expression)
x = 5
result = eval(expression)
print(result)


Output

x*(x+3)
40

 

Example: Evaluation of Boolean expressions

Code

x = 10
y = 20
expr = "x > y"
result = eval(expr)
print(result) # prints False


Output

False

 

Security Issues in eval() Function

In python, the eval() function can be a powerful tool. Whereas it can also be a security risk if not used properly. Some of the main security issues with eval() functions are given below:

  1. Code injection: The eval() function can execute arbitrary code. It can be used to inject malicious code into our program. If an attacker can control the input to eval(), they can potentially execute any code they want on our system.
     
  2. Access to sensitive data: If the code executed by the Python eval function has access to sensitive data. An attacker is able to inject malicious code through eval() and can potentially gain access to that data.
     
  3. Denial of Service attacks: If the Python eval is used to execute code on input that is validated improperly, then it can be vulnerable to DoS attacks. An attacker could be able to send input that is specially crafted to cause eval() to consume excessive resources, leading to a denial of service.
     
  4. Difficulty of debugging: The eval() can execute arbitrary code. It can be difficult to debug programs. If a bug is introduced through the eval() function, it may be difficult to trace the root cause of the problem.

You can also practice with the help of Online Python Compiler

Frequently Asked Questions

In Python, what does the eval() function do?

In Python, the eval() function evaluates a string as a Python expression. It can be used to evaluate mathematical and boolean expressions, execute code dynamically, interpret user input, and serialize and also deserialize data structures.

In Python, Is it safe to use the eval() function?

The eval() function can be risky if not used properly. It can execute arbitrary code and potentially introduce security vulnerabilities. It should be used with caution and only with input that can be trusted. It is generally recommended to use other functions to achieve the same functionality as eval() whenever possible.

Can eval() be used to execute arbitrary code?

Yes, the eval() function can execute arbitrary code. It can be used to inject malicious code into a program if the input is not properly validated. It is important to use eval() only with input that can be trusted.

How can the eval() function be used to serialize and deserialize data structures?

The eval() function can be used to serialize and deserialize data structures. Using the repr() function to convert the data to a string and then use eval() to convert the string into the original data structure. This usage is safe until the input is controlled and does not contain arbitrary code.

Conclusion

So far, we have discussed a lot about the eval() function. By this, we came to the end of the blog. We hope this blog adds knowledge to you and that you get to know the basics of the eval() function. In conclusion, The eval() function is a powerful built-in function. 

It evaluates a string as an expression and returns the result. It can also execute dynamically generated code or parse user input as a Python expression. You can read more such articles.


Moreover, apart from this blog, you can read more such articles on our platform, Coding Ninjas Studio. If you want to improve or practice coding questions visit our website Coding Ninjas and grab your dream jobs in product-based companies. For interview preparation, you can read Interview Experiences of popular companies. 


Happy learning

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