By: Python Team in Python Tutorials on 2012-04-07
For integers, use the built-in int() type constructor, e.g. int('144') == 144. Similarly, float() converts to floating-point, e.g. float('144') == 144.0.
By default, these interpret the number as decimal, so that int('0144') == 144 and int('0x144') raises ValueError. int(string, base) takes the base to convert from as a second optional argument, so int('0x144', 16) == 324. If the base is specified as 0, the number is interpreted using Python's rules: a leading '0" indicates octal, and '0x" indicates a hex number.
Do not use the built-in function eval() if all you need is to convert strings to numbers. eval() will be significantly slower and it presents a security risk: someone could pass you a Python expression that might have unwanted side effects. For example, someone could pass __import__('os').system("rm -rf $HOME") which would erase your home directory.
eval() also has the effect of interpreting numbers as Python expressions, so that e.g. eval('09') gives a syntax error because Python does not allow leading '0" in a decimal number (except '0").
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