Python Closure Tutorial

In this section, we will learn what closure is and how it works in Python.

Note: we’re assuming you’re familiar with inner functions in python.

What is Closure in Python?

In the inner function section, we mentioned that a function is nothing but an object. So we can declare a function within the body of another function, which is known as inner function or nested function.

Also, we learned that a function can return another function as its return value and this value can be assigned to another variable or passed as the argument to another function!

But one thing you should always remember is that a function won’t forget its place of declaration!

This means when we pass a function to another variable or another function, it still uses its scope of declaration to find any necessary variable, etc.

This is called closure.

Let’s see how closure affects the work of a program.

Example: closure in Python

gvar = 400

def parentFuncion():
    gvar = 300
    def innerFunc():
    return innerFunc

fVar = parentFuncion()




In this example, we have two variables named `gVar`. One is declared globally and the other is defined within the body of the `parentFunction`.

Within the body of the `parentFunction` we also have an inner function named `innerFunc`. And this function is returned as a result of calling the `parentFunction` and assigned to `fVar` variable.

So now the `fVar` variable is pointing to the same function that the `innerFunc` does.

Here’s what happened when we’ve called `fVar` variable:

1- The execution engine found the body of the function and its enclosing scopes and started to execute the body of the ` innerFunc `.

2- Within the body of this function there’s a call for the `gVar` variable. So the engine will check the body of the ` innerFunc ` for any local variable with the name `gVar`. But there isn’t one!

3- So the engine will move one step back and check the enclosing scope of the ` innerFunc ` which is the `parentFunction`! This is where closure shows itself! When working with a function, no-matter where in a program we call the function, the execution always happens in the place where the actual declaration happened. So because the declaration of the ` innerFunc ` was in the body of `parentFunction`, the python execution engine checks this scope for a variable after the body of the ` innerFunc ` itself, even though the call to the ` innerFunc ` happened in the global scope!

4- So now the engine checks the `parentFunction` and sees that there’s a variable with the name `gVar`. So it takes its value and uses it in the body of the innerFunc to be sent to the output stream.

That’s how we got the value of 300 on the output.


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