Computers have a different language and they cannot understand words and sentiments as we all do. The only thing a machine or a computer can understand is two signals: power off and power on, These signals are represented using two numbers, 0 and 1 respectively. The different permutations of 0s and 1s give us different sequences which in turn are used to represent different letters, numbers, and special characters in the memory. The language comprising of these sequences is known as binary language.
In this tutorial, we will discuss how we can convert a binary string into an integer in Python. But before we divide deep into different conversion methods, let us have a quick recap of strings and integers.
What are strings?
Strings in Python are defined as arrays of bytes representing Unicode characters. If you come with experience in other programming languages, then you may understand strings as an array of characters. However, this is not exactly true in python, because python has no char or character data type. A single character is just a string with length 1 for python. However, If you are not familiar with some other programming language and find the above statements hard to understand, then you can skip that part as it is not required for further understanding of the article.
What are integers?
Integers or int is just another data type in python which is used to store whole numbers. This data type, however, cannot accommodate decimals or fractions. Let us now look at the ways in which we can accomplish the required conversion.
How to Convert a Binary String to an Integer in Python?
Characters and numbers are encoded in the memory as binary numbers. So, if we have a string containing a binary number, we should be able to convert it to its corresponding number. This is what we will achieve in this section. There are majorly two ways in which we can do the conversion, let's go through both of them one by one.
1) Using bitstring module
Python is known for its wide array of modules and its large open-source community. Out of this huge collection of open-source libraries, the module which we will be using today is the bitstring module. This module makes the creation, manipulation, and analysis of binary data as simple as possible. The class which we will be utilizing today to achieve our task is the BitArray class. This class is present inside the bitstring module and has a property called int. This property contains the signed two’s complement integer representation of the bitstring. Before we can access this property, we are required to create an object of the BitArray class. The constructor of this class requires us to specify an initializer, which tells the class about the type of data we will be providing it with. In this can since we are dealing with binary string, there the initializer which we will be using is bin. After initializing our object we will access the int property of the object to get the required integer.
Please note that you will have to install the bitstring module into your system using the pip command.
2) Using int
This approach is fairly a simple one and doesn’t require any installing of packages. In this, we use the built-in function called int. This function takes the string which we want to convert as its first argument and the base of the number as its second argument. Since here we are dealing with a binary number therefore the base is 2. This method then returns the integer value of the binary string.
Conversion is a very important task and a skill that everyone must have a strong grasp on. Python, to our rescue, provides us with a large number of methods and libraries which make this task very easy and convenient. In this article, we first had a brief intro to binary values, strings, and integers. After this, we learned about 2 different ways in which we can convert a binary string into an integer.