python 3.10 - 6 new features

The new Python release introduces interesting new features.

Python is one of the most popular programming languages today. It has a wide range of fields and applications, from learning the basics of computer science to performing complex or straightforward scientific computing tasks to create games. Its advanced applications even include data science and quantum computing.

There are many reasons for Python’s popularity. The main reason is Python’s versatility and ease of learning compared to other languages. In addition, Python’s developers and maintainers, the Python Software Foundation, have been working to improve Python in new ways.

A week ago (October 4, 2021), a new Python release was released, Python 3.10. In the latest version, Python adds unique and valuable features while removing some old ones. Features added or removed from any new software release can be grouped into several categories, such as syntactic features, additions to the default library, or improvements to existing features.

Python 3.10 has several new cool features that make working with Python a better experience. In this article, I’ll share with you six new features that I’m most excited about.

Better Bug Tracking

As someone who writes and teaches Python every day, I know the frustration of encountering syntax errors. Although it’s easy to fix syntax errors once you’ve mastered Python and programming, we hope that error messages give us better hints to help us locate errors and save debugging time.

In Python 3.10, two new features allow us to handle errors better. They are more straightforward error messages and precise line numbers. For example, we have the following code containing a dictionary and a function. But we forgot the curly braces “} “at the end of the dictionary.

					some_dict = 
{1: "jack", 
2: "john", 
3: "james" ,
a_results = a_useful_function()


In previous versions of Python, the error message was as follows:

					File "", 
line 3 a_results = a_useful_function() 
^ SyntaxError: invalid syntax


However, as the new error message and line number improve, the message will contain better information, such as the exact error type and the line number.

					File "", 
line 1 expected = 
{1: "jack", 
2: "john", 
3: "james" ,
 ^ SyntaxError: '{' was never closed

This new feature will help speed up debugging and reduce frustration when people start learning Python.

Structured Pattern Matching

If you’ve used other programming languages like C++, you probably want Python to have switch statements, so you don’t have to go through the long if, elif, elif,… Else statement. Well, one of the new features in Python 3.10 is the addition of structured pattern matching, or in other words, switch, case statements with the following syntax.

					match subject:  
  case <patt1>:        <act1>    
  case <patt2>:        <act2>    
  case <patt3>:        <act3>    
  case _:        <action_default>


New Type Union Operator

Although Python is a dynamically typed programming language, there are ways to make parts of it statically typed. For example, if you are writing a function, the type of attribute is important for the internal communication of the function. In previous versions, you could specify the following types:

					def func(num: int) -> int:    return num + 5

However, if you want to accept both types, you need to use the Union keyword.

					def func(num: Union[int, float]) -> Union[int, float]:    return num + 5

In the new Python, you can use “|” operator instead of the Union keyword, which will be more direct.

					def func(num: int | float) -> int | float:    return num + 5

Other Cool Features

4.1 Tighter ZIP

One of the joys of Python is the zip() function. A built-in function allows you to iterate over multiple sequences simultaneously and combine their return values. In previous versions, you could use ZIP for sequences of different lengths. However, a new strict parameter is now, which checks whether the traversable objects are of the same length.

4.2 Automatic text encoding

As programmers, we say, “It’ll work on my computer.” But, unfortunately, there are many reasons why code runs on one machine and not another; Text encoding can cause such errors.

In previous versions of Python, preferred native encoding could cause code to fail on other machines if the encoding type was not explicitly stated. In Python 3.10, you can activate warnings to inform the user that a text file was opened without specifying an encoding type.

4.3 Asynchronous Iteration

Asynchronous programming is a powerful and advanced programming paradigm that has been part of Python since version 3.5. In Python 3.10, there are two new asynchronous built-in features aiter() and anext() to make your code more readable.

Final Thoughts

When I was doing my undergraduate degree, I took several courses on writing code and implementing applications using C++ or Java. But when IT came time to write my senior thesis, I decided to learn and use Python. That was almost ten years ago, and I haven’t looked back; Python has become my programming language of choice whenever I solve a problem.

Later, I started teaching computer science to children. I realized Python was inspiring a younger generation to pursue technical careers. Aside from being easy to read, write, and easy to use, what I like most about Python is the hard work of the Python Software Foundation to keep Python up to date.

With each release of Python, great new features are introduced. These features are what most Python programmers need to write Python code efficiently. Together, they make it easier for people to write code. In this article, I share six new Python 3.10 features that have excited my students and me.

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