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I'm looking for feedback or tips to maybe make my code more readable or faster or just general tips to help get myself started with app making with Python.

import sys

# check for valid input
if len(sys.argv) == 2:
    try:
        int(sys.argv[1])
        if(len(str(sys.argv[1])) == 16):
            pass
        else:
            print("Not 16 digits!")
            sys.exit()
    except ValueError:
        print('Not an integer!')
        sys.exit()
else:
    print('Not enough or too many command line arguments! \n Proper use \"python Check.py <credit card number here> \" ')
    sys.exit()

def main():
    # put the digits into a list
    number = convertToList(sys.argv[1])
    sum = cardCheck(number)
    if (sum%10 == 0):
        print('Valid Card!')
    else:
        print('Invalid Card!')

#converts initial passed int variable to list
def convertToList(num):
    numStr = str(num)
    numList = []
    for digit in numStr:
        numList.append(int(digit))
    return (numList)

def cardCheck(digitList, count = 0):
    sum = 0
    #if digit is every second digit multiply by 2
    if(count%2 == 0 & count < 15):
        digitList[count] = (digitList[count] * 2)
        #if is 2 digit number after multiplication
        if(digitList[count] >= 10):
            digitList[count] = addDigits(digitList[count])
            cardCheck(digitList, count + 1)
        else:
            cardCheck(digitList, count + 1)
    #progresses program
    elif(count < 15):
        cardCheck(digitList, count + 1)
    else:
        return 0
    for digits in digitList:
        sum += int(digits)
    return sum

#resolve 2 digit number conflict by adding the digits of the number and returning it
def addDigits(num):
    list = str(num)
    sum = 0
    for digits in list:
        sum += int(digits)
    return sum

if __name__ == '__main__':
        main()
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  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ For the record, if you're just getting started making apps, credit card handling is not the best place, given the immense legal/contractual requirements/standards around them. Most businesses will want to outsource card handling. \$\endgroup\$ – jpmc26 May 26 at 15:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ I understand that, I was simply testing my abilities to write a simple checksum algorithm. I plan on writing a program to solve Rubix cubes soon as my first big project. \$\endgroup\$ – tph May 26 at 16:23
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For making your code faster, we can choose more Pythonic ways in some parts of it. First, let's take a look at convertToList function. The goal of this function is to split digits of a number to a list of int values. I want to follow your algorithm and do this by converting the number to the str and then splitting it.

I want to do this by "List Comprehension":

def convert_to_list(num):
    result = [int(x) for x in str(num)] 
    return result

We made some changes here. First of all, I changed the name of the function from camelCase (convertToList) to snake_case (convert_to_list) because according to the Python style guide, it is the better way. You can read more about the Python style guide at PEP8.

Next change is I replaced all your code with a single line list comprehension. The first advantage, we have written less code. Less code means probably fewer bugs.

But the second advantage here is this code is so much faster. How much? I have written a simple script for it; the result is that on average, the second version is 1.7 times faster.

Now let's move on and take another look at addDigits function. I want to choose pythonic way again here:

def sum_of_digits(number):
    num_list = convert_to_list(number)
    return sum(num_list)

Like the previous time, I changed the name. I think this name is clearer and everyone could tell what this code does.

For converting the number to a list of digits, I used convert_to_list function instead of writing the whole code again. We are using functions to avoiding duplication, so I think it's a bad idea to write the same code here. For calculating the sum of digits in a list, I strongly recommend you that always use built-in function sum. It's faster, you don't need to write new code and every Python programmer can tell what you are doing at first glance. This code is somehow 1.2 times faster than previous.

Now let's go to the beginning of your code. We want to parse command line parameters and be sure that the input is correct.

Even though we only call those codes once, I think it is a great favor to the readability of the code to move those lines in a separate function.

from re import search


def get_input_from_cmd(args_list):
    if len(args_list) != 2:
        raise Exception("You should enter a 16-digit number as input argument")
    return args_list[1]


def is_input_valid(input_str):
    return bool(search(r"\d{16}", input_str))

I separated your code into two functions. The first function gets argv list as an input parameter and if its length is equal to 2, returns the second parameter. Else, it will raise an Exception. There are a lot of people out there who are against exceptions and I agree with most of their reasons. But when we want our program to stop when a bad input came in, I think using exceptions is the best way.

The second function simply uss search function of re module. It checks that the input string only contains 16 digits. If that assumption will be true, True will be returned. Otherwise, the False value is what you get.

Now you can change your main function like this:

def main():
    input_string = get_input_from_cmd(sys.argv)
    if is_input_valid(input_string):
        digits_list = convert_to_list(input_string)
        card_checking_sum = card_check(digits_list)
        if card_checking_sum % 10 == 0:
            print('Valid Card!')
        else:
            print('Invalid Card!')
    else:
        print("Invalid Card number")

What we do is if card number is not a 16-digit number, code in the last else will execute. Otherwise, codes in the first if will run. That looks nicer to me.

So now let's go to the last function, the cardCheck.

def card_check(digits_list, count=0):
    result = 0
    if count % 2 == 0:
        digits_list[count] *= 2
        if digits_list[count] >= 10:
            digits_list[count] = sum_of_digits(digits_list[count])
    if count < 15:
        card_check(digits_list, count + 1)
    else:
        return 0
    result += sum(digits_list)
    return result

There were some problems in your code that I tried to fix. First, you don't need to put if conditions in parentheses. In python, don't need means you should not.

Second, if you run the same code in if and else; you should take that part of code away from if statement. That is what I did with card_check(digits_list, count + 1) line. That line was repeated needlessly.

In the end, for logical operations, you should use operators like and and or, not & and |.

Here is the full code. I hope that helps you:

from re import search
import sys


def get_input_from_cmd(args_list):
    if len(args_list) != 2:
        raise Exception("You should enter a 16-digit number as input argument")
    return args_list[1]


def is_input_valid(input_str):
    return bool(search(r"\d{16}", input_str))


def convert_to_list(num):
    result = [int(x) for x in str(num)]
    return result


def sum_of_digits(number):
    num_list = convert_to_list(number)
    return sum(num_list)


def card_check(digits_list, count=0):
    result = 0
    if count % 2 == 0:
        digits_list[count] *= 2
        if digits_list[count] >= 10:
            digits_list[count] = sum_of_digits(digits_list[count])
    if count < 15:
        card_check(digits_list, count + 1)
    else:
        return 0
    result += sum(digits_list)
    return result


def main():
    input_string = get_input_from_cmd(sys.argv)
    if is_input_valid(input_string):
        digits_list = convert_to_list(input_string)
        card_checking_sum = card_check(digits_list)
        if card_checking_sum % 10 == 0:
            print('Valid Card!')
        else:
            print('Invalid Card!')
    else:
        print("Invalid Card number")


if __name__ == '__main__':
        main()
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Regarding the cardCheck function: Its main purpose is to help you determine if a card number is valid, using the Luhn algorithm. So why have it return a sum, rather than a True or False? I can't imagine a scenario where you'd want to call that function and NOT want to do the sum % 10 == 0 check after. So include that in the function, that seems to be a core part of its job. The main function can then be more explicit when using it:

valid = cardCheck(number):
if valid:
    print('Valid card!')

Also, there's no reason to make this function recursive. That seems to only make it harder to understand. Compare with this variant that iterates over the digits instead:

def cardCheck(digit_list):
    if len(digit_list) != 16:
        return False
    total = 0
    for i, digit in enumerate(digit_list):
        if i % 2 == 0:
            digit *= 2
            if digit >= 10:
                digit -= 9
        total += digit
    return total % 10 == 0

I used a trick here to replace the digit sum: If the digit sum is needed, that will be on a number between 10 and 18. The digit sum of those numbers is just 1 above the last digit, and that number can be more easily found by just subtracting 9. But whether you use that trick or not, the iterative version seems easier to understand and read.

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