Managing Print Statements in Python Projects

Selectively Choosing Your Print Outputs

In our journey with Python, we often encounter situations where our projects are filled with numerous print statements. These prints may serve debugging purposes, logging information, or displaying results. However, there arises a need to selectively enable or disable these print statements without completely removing them from the code. Today, let’s delve into how to accomplish this effectively.

What You’ll Learn

In the following sections, you will learn how to manage multiple print statements in your Python project and have control over which ones are executed.

Introduction to the Problem and Solution

When working on extensive Python projects or during the debugging phase of development, incorporating print() statements is a common practice. As the project scales, handling these outputs becomes challenging. You might only want specific messages to be displayed under certain conditions without deleting or commenting out your print() calls.

The solution lies in creating a custom function that wraps around the print() function. This approach enables us to introduce logic that determines whether a message should be printed based on predefined criteria such as debug levels or modes (e.g., DEBUG, INFO). By doing so, we achieve precise control over our output console without compromising any existing debug or log messages scattered throughout our codebase.


# Custom print function
def smart_print(message, level="INFO"):
    allowed_levels = ["DEBUG", "INFO"]
    if level in allowed_levels:

# Example usage
smart_print("This is an info message")
smart_print("This is a debug message", "DEBUG")

# Copyright PHD


Our solution involves defining a smart_print function that takes two parameters: the message and an optional level argument with a default value of “INFO”. Within this function lies a simple conditional statement checking if the provided level exists within an allowed_levels list. If it does, the standard print() function is called; otherwise, it’s silently ignored.

This setup offers flexibility�by adjusting the allowed_levels list or implementing more sophisticated logic (like environment variable checks), we can easily toggle which messages are visible at runtime without modifying any part of our code except at the definition of smart_print.

    1. How do I add more levels like ERROR? Simply extend the allowed_levels list within your custom print function:

    2. allowed_levels = ["DEBUG", "INFO", "ERROR"]
    3. # Copyright PHD
    4. Can I use this method for logging? Yes! While tailored here for simplicity around print statements, you could adapt it for logging by integrating Python�s built-in logging library instead of using print directly.

    5. Is there performance overhead? Minimal�the primary overhead would be from evaluating conditions within your custom function rather than calling print() directly.

    6. Can I restrict some prints only in production? Absolutely! Combine environment variables with conditionals inside smart_print:

    7. import os
      if os.getenv('ENV') != 'PRODUCTION':
    8. # Copyright PHD
    9. How can I dynamically change allowed levels? Manage allowed levels through external configuration files or environment variables instead of hardcoding them into your script.

    10. How do I make my logs persistent (saved into files)? Integrate Python�s built-in logging module and configure file handlers along with appropriate log levels.

    11. Can this method replace traditional logging frameworks? While useful for simple cases and scripts; for more complex applications consider using comprehensive solutions like Python’s logging module.

    12. Is it possible to color-code different levels? Yes! There are libraries like Colorama that allow adding colors to terminal outputs including prints managed by functions like smart_print.

    13. Can smart_print handle non-string types automatically? You might need to ensure type compatibility explicitly since smart_print relies on python’s built-in print which handles various data types gracefully.

    14. Does wrapping each output call affect readability? It can but remember clarity often trumps brevity especially when maintaining large codebases where controlled outputs play pivotal roles.

    15. Are there alternatives besides implementing custom functions? For complex needs consider leveraging existing third-party libraries designed specifically for enhanced output management and application logging.


By utilizing customized printing functions similar to what was discussed today�tailoring visibility through controlled mechanisms�you not only uphold cleaner code but also empower ongoing development processes significantly. This technique doesn’t just apply theoretically but serves practical benefits immediately observable as better managed outputs leading towards efficacious debugging sessions among other advantages. Remember: The key lies in balancing between outright removals versus intelligent suppressions ensuring information relevancy per execution context hence optimizing both developer experience and application performance concurrently.

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