Python exit commands - why so many and when should each be used?

0 votes

It seems that python supports many different commands to stop script execution.

The choices I've found are: 
quit()
exit()
sys.exit()
os._exit()

Have I missed any? What's the difference between them? When would you use each?
Aug 27, 2018 in Python by bug_seeker
• 15,350 points
3,055 views

1 answer to this question.

0 votes

Let me give some information on them:

  1. quit raises the SystemExit exception behind the scenes.

  2. Furthermore, if you print it, it will give a message:

  3. >>> print (quit) Use quit() or Ctrl-Z plus Return to exit >>>

  4. This functionality was included to help people who do not know Python. After all, one of the most likely things a newbie will try to exit Python is typing in quit.

  5. Nevertheless, quit should not be used in production code. This is because it only works if the site module is loaded. Instead, this function should only be used in the interpreter.

  6. exit is an alias for quit (or vice-versa). They exist together simply to make Python more user-friendly.

  7. Furthermore, it too gives a message when printed:

  8. >>> print (exit) Use exit() or Ctrl-Z plus Return to exit >>>

  9. However, like quit, exit is considered bad to use in production code and should be reserved for use in the interpreter. This is because it too relies on the site module.

  10. sys.exit raises the SystemExit exception in the background. This means that it is the same as quit and exit in that respect.

  11. Unlike those two however, sys.exit is considered good to use in production code. This is because the sys module will always be there.

  12. os._exit exits the program without calling cleanup handlers, flushing stdio buffers, etc. Thus, it is not a standard way to exit and should only be used in special cases. The most common of these is in the child process(es) created by os.fork.

  13. Note that, of the four methods given, only this one is unique in what it does.

Summed up, all four methods exit the program. However, the first two are considered bad to use in production code and the last is a non-standard, dirty way that is only used in special scenarios. So, if you want to exit a program normally, go with the third method: sys.exit.
Or, even better in my opinion, you can just do directly what
sys.exit does behind the scenes and run:

raise SystemExit

This way, you do not need to import sys first.

However, this choice is simply one on style and is purely up to you.

answered Aug 27, 2018 by Priyaj
• 56,520 points

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