# Function to find midpoint of two floats where one of the floats might be an empty string

There must surely be a nicer way of writing this.

The wrinkle of complexity is that prev_seq or next_seq might be an empty string if the user moves the question to the first or last position, but it could also validly be '0.0' so I can't just rely on 'falsiness'.

I hope it's clear what I'm trying to achieve from the below (with the comments).

How can I improve this?

def update_sequence(self):

prev_seq = self.request.get('prev_seq')
next_seq = self.request.get('next_seq')
question_id = int(self.request.get('id'))
question = db.get(db.Key.from_path('Questions', question_id))

try:
# to slot a question between two numbers we compute the midpoint
# for, example, to insert a question between 2.1 and 3.4, the
# question would get the sequence of 2.75
new_position = (float(prev_seq) + float(next_seq)) / 2
except ValueError:
# if we get here, either prev_seq or next_seq was not submitted
# in the request which means the user pushed the question to the
# first or last position.
try:
float(prev_seq)
except ValueError:
# in this case the question has been moved to the first
# position so we should make:
# the new position = the next position - 1
new_position = float(next_seq) - 1
try:
float(next_seq)
except ValueError:
# in this case the question has been moved to the last position
# so we should make:
# the new position = the previous position + 1
new_position = float(prev_seq) + 1

question.sequence_float = new_position
question.put()

• Have you tried if prev_seq == "":? That gives a different result for "" and 0. Jan 9, 2014 at 20:52

def get_new_position(prev_seq, next_seq):