I'm new to Python, and as I was coding for Project Euler to develop my skills in this language, I needed a function for converting between two bases. I know that int() can convert anything to base 10, but before I looked for a Python module concerning this math, I thought it would be a good idea to try and code one myself. Please, let me know if there is anything inefficient or in bad style so that I can improve.

It can handle A-Z notation (input both lower- and uppercase), any bases between 2 and 36, and catches problems related in invalid bases.

```
"""
Matt Laporte <lapo3399@gmail.com> 2008
---
Base conversion tools. Allows for A-Z notation for digits greater than 9.
"""
from types import StringType
def inBase(num, base, fromBase = 10, result = ''):
"""
Converts any number in fromBase to its representation in base.
Defaults to converting to base_num from base_10.
"""
if result == '':
#First call checks and corrections.
if num == 0: return '0'
base = __check(base)
if fromBase != 10:
fromBase = __check(fromBase)
""" In order to maintain the simplicity of the actual
conversion, this converts the number to base_10. """
num = toBase10(num, fromBase)
fromBase = 10
if num < 0:
#Further simplification for the conversion component.
result = '-' + result
num = -1 * num
if num == 0: return result #Return the final result when num has been handled.
else:
#Conversion. This builds up result and eats away at num.
thisDigit = num%base
if thisDigit > 9: thisDigit = chr(thisDigit + 55) #Accounting for A-Z digits.
else: thisDigit = str(thisDigit)
return inBase(num/base, base, fromBase, thisDigit + result)
def __check(base):
"""
Verifies that a given base is 2-9 or A-Z.
Converts any base from A-Z to 10-35 for numerical calculations.
Should be used in the form: base == __check(base).
"""
if type(base) == StringType and ((ord(base) > 96) and (ord(base) < 123)):
#Correct a-z to A-Z
base = chr(ord(base)-32)
if type(base) == StringType and ((ord(base) > 64) and (ord(base) < 91)):
#Correct A-Z to 10-35
return (ord(base) - 55)
elif type(base) != type(1) or type(base) == StringType:
#Not an integer, or any string other than A-Z.
raise TypeError, 'invalid base type for inBase()'
if base <= 1 or base > 36:
raise ValueError, 'invalid base for inBase(): %s' % base
return base
def toBase10(num, base):
"""
Converts any number represented in base to its base_10 representation.
"""
sum = 0
parseNum = str(num)
indices = range(len(parseNum)) #Exponents depend on digit place, indices necessary.
for i in indices:
#Add the decimal representations of the digits.
sum += int(parseNum[i])*base**int(indices[::-1][i])
return sum
```

p.s. I haven't found the Python standard library function for any of this yet. As well, having a little experience in C, C++, Java, etc, I can say that Python is amazing. This -- and I know to be careful -- mutability and interchangeability (that is heresy in C) makes everything so easy in Python.

Edit: I used timeit. Although toBase10 was an attempt to imitate int() for the purpose of experiment, it is 10-15 times slower, so using int() in place of toBase10: 1 million executions of inBase with fromBase = 10 took around 10 seconds, with fromBase != 10 took around 20. I think this is pretty bad...