Can ‘if __name__ == “__main__:” be used within an imported package or module in Python?

What will you learn?

In this post, we will delve into the concept of using the if __name__ == “__main__”: construct within an imported package or module in Python. You will understand how to structure your code to differentiate between direct script execution and module importation.

Introduction to the Problem and Solution

In Python development, utilizing the if __name__ == “__main__”: construct is a common practice to execute specific code only when a script is run directly. However, there are situations where incorporating this construct within an imported module or package becomes necessary. To tackle this scenario effectively, we need to grasp the intricacies of namespaces in Python.

By exploring whether it’s feasible to use if __name__ == “__main__”: within an imported package or module, we gain insights into how Python manages script and module execution based on namespace isolation.


# File: my_module.py

def some_function():
    print("Inside some_function")

# Check if the script is run directly
if __name__ == "__main__":
    print("This will only run if my_module.py is executed directly")

# Copyright PHD
# File: main_script.py

import my_module


# Copyright PHD

In the provided setup, executing main_script.py involves importing my_module. The code enclosed by if __name__ == “__main__”: in my_module.py remains inactive since it’s not invoked directly.


When a Python file is executed as a script (via python filename.py), its special variable __name__ assumes the value “__main_”. This distinctive behavior enables us to discern whether a file functions as an independent script or as a module integrated into another script.

Key points: – Each module possesses its own global namespace. – A standalone script operates within its unique global namespace when executed (hence “___mains___”). – While importing a module, code under “___mains___” doesn’t execute as it functions within a distinct namespace separate from “___mains___”.

Namespaces in Python:

Aspect Description
Each module has its own global namespace.
Executing a file as a standalone script results in operation within its exclusive global namespace.
Importing a module prevents execution of code under “___mains___”, maintaining namespace integrity.
    Can I include functions outside of “if __name_ _== “_ _ main_ _:” block in an imported module?

    Yes, functions defined outside of “if __name_ _== “_ _ main_ _:” are accessible upon import and can be utilized by other scripts that import the module.

    What happens if I have multiple files with “if __name_ _== “_ _ main_ _:” constructs?

    Each file operates independently based on direct execution or importation. The blocks under “if ___ name ___ = “_ ___ main ____”,” solely execute for files run as scripts.

    Will all top-level executable statements outside of functions get executed when importing a package/module?

    No, statements outside functions but at the top level (not indented) execute once during import – irrespective of conditional checks like “if ___ name ___ = ‘_ ___ main ____’:””

    Is there any way for executing specific logic both on direct execution and while importing?

    You can define distinct functions containing shared logic that can be called internally and externally without duplicating code.


    Comprehending how namespaces operate in Python clarifies why embedding executable code inside ‘if __name__ == “__main__”‘ blocks within an imported package doesn’t disrupt other scripts leveraging those modules. By effectively employing this understanding, you ensure your scripts behave as intended whether operating autonomously or forming part of larger applications.

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