# Determine whether three sides form a valid triangle, and classify the triangle

This is a my first Python program, and whilst I am new to Python I would like to keep in good practice

Below is a short program to work out what type a triangle is and if it makes a valid triangle

I have tried to use as little documention for this as possible to try and get used to how things work in Python so I can only imagine the mistakes I have made. However please do mention anything that should have be done better

# Determin if triangle is Scalene. Isosceles or equilateral
# Also works out if lengths can make a triangle

from decimal import *

getcontext().prec = 3
getcontext().rounding = ROUND_HALF_UP

#Needs to be divided to re-set decimal place I think
a = Decimal(input("Length of side a = ")) / 1
b = Decimal(input("Length of side b = ")) / 1
c = Decimal(input("Length of side c = ")) / 1

if a != b and b != c and a != c:
print("This is a a Scalene triangle")
triangle_type = 'Scalene'
elif a == b and c == b:
print("This is an Equilateral triangle")
triangle_type = 'Equilateral'
else:
print("This is an Isosceles triangle")
triangle_type = 'Isosceles'

def is_valid_triangle(a, b, c,triangle_type):
if triangle_type == 'Equilateral':
return True #all same lengths will be a valid triangle
elif triangle_type == 'Isosceles' or triangle_type == 'Scalene':
if a == b:
return a + b > c
elif b == c:
return b + c > a
elif a == c:
return a + c > b
else: #This will be the scalene triangle
return a + b > c
else:
return False #Message is unclear as could be lengths are negitive or correct int type not used

print('Is this a valid triangle?', is_valid_triangle(a,b,c,triangle_type))

• "so I can only imagine the mistakes I have made" Does it work for your test cases? Jul 24, 2019 at 16:55

Add a __name__ == "__main__" guard, and move the logic into a function separate from the I/O:

def triangle_type(a, b, c):
'''Return a string indicating the type of triangle
(Equilateral, Isosceles, Scalene, Impossible)
'''
# implementation here...

def main():
getcontext().prec = 3
getcontext().rounding = ROUND_HALF_UP

#Needs to be divided to re-set decimal place I think
a = Decimal(input("Length of side a = ")) / 1
b = Decimal(input("Length of side b = ")) / 1
c = Decimal(input("Length of side c = ")) / 1

print(f"This is a {triangle_type(a, b, c)} triangle")

if __name__ == "__main__":
main()


In the implementation, we can save a lot of "or" tests by sorting the lengths before we start:

a, b, c = sorted([a, b, c])

if a + b <= c:
# N.B. automatically catches a < 0, since b <= c
return 'Impossible'
if a != b != c:
return 'Scalene'
elif a == c:
return 'Equilateral'
else:
return 'Isosceles'


# Modified code

def triangle_type(a, b, c):
'''
Return a string indicating the type of triangle
(Equilateral, Isosceles, Scalene, Impossible)
'''

a, b, c = sorted([a, b, c])

if a + b <= c:
return 'Impossible'
if a != b != c:
return 'Scalene'
if a == c:
return 'Equilateral'
return 'Isosceles'

def main():
a = input("Length of side a: ")
b = input("Length of side b: ")
c = input("Length of side c: ")
print(f"({a}, {b}, {c}) is a {triangle_type(a, b, c)} triangle")

if __name__ == "__main__":
main()


# Further improvement

Use the doctest module to write the tests:

def triangle_type(a, b, c):
'''
Return a string indicating the type of triangle
(Equilateral, Isosceles, Scalene, Impossible)

>>> triangle_type(1, 1, 2)
'Impossible'
>>> triangle_type(-1, -1, -1)
'Impossible'
>>> triangle_type(1, 1.0, 1)
'Equilateral'
>>> triangle_type(1, 2, 2)
'Isosceles'
>>> triangle_type(2, 3, 2)
'Isosceles'
>>> triangle_type(2, 3, 4)
'Scalene'
'''

a, b, c = sorted([a, b, c])

if a + b <= c:
return 'Impossible'
if a != b != c:
return 'Scalene'
if a == c:
return 'Equilateral'
return 'Isosceles'

if __name__ == "__main__":
import doctest
doctest.testmod()

• Thanks for your answers, I have marked this one as accepted as it contains the more useful information, however both answers provide good points that I need to improve upon Jul 26, 2019 at 9:25

A bug (or poorly-specified behaviour):

If we enter an invalid triangle (e.g. 1, 2, 4), the program reports that it's scalene, before telling us that it's not a valid triangle. That's a contradiction - if it's not a triangle, it cannot be a scalene triangle!

I recommend performing the is_valid_triangle() test first, and only continuing to classify the triangle if the test is successful.

And don't forget that valid triangles have three positive sides - any negative values should fail the validity test.

• little suggestion to test validity of triangle, valid triangles have three positive sides and sum of two side is greater than 3rd side Jul 26, 2019 at 8:36
• @prashant, the posted code already covers the second part of that test; I'm just drawing attention to the missing part. I hope that's clear! Jul 26, 2019 at 8:52
• didn't went throuh the whole code, my mistake, thanks for commenting out Jul 26, 2019 at 9:06