Save figure as a pdf file in Python

This post introduces how to save a figure as a pdf file in Python using Matplotlib.

When using savefig, the file format can be specified by the extension:


The first line of code above will give a rasterized  output and the second will give a vectorized output.

In addition, you’ll find that pylab leaves a generous, often undesirable, whitespace around the image. You can remove it with:

savefig('foo.png', bbox_inches='tight')

You can also use  figure to set dpi of the figure:

import numpy as np
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

fig  = plt.figure(figsize=(1,4),facecolor = 'red', dpi=100)
plt.savefig('test.png', dpi=100)



Make a request to REST API using Python

This post introduces how to make a request to REST API using Python.

requests package is the commonly used one (its GitHub repo).

You can try out requests online here at codecademy, and here at

Look at this post for a great tutorial using Requests with Python to make a request to REST API: Python API tutorial – An Introduction to using APIs (pdf) – a very good, comprehensive, and detailed tutorial.

To install Requests, simply:

$ pip install requests

See below for a simple example to make a request to REST API.

#Python 2.7

import requests
from requests.auth import HTTPDigestAuth
import json

# Replace with the correct URL
url = "http://api_url"

# It is a good practice not to hardcode the credentials. So ask the user to enter credentials at runtime
myResponse = requests.get(url,auth=HTTPDigestAuth(raw_input("username: "), raw_input("Password: ")), verify=True)
#print (myResponse.status_code)

# For successful API call, response code will be 200 (OK)

    # Loading the response data into a dictionary variable
    # json.loads takes in only binary or string variables so using content to fetch binary content
    # Loads (Load String) takes a Json file and converts into python data structure (dictionary or list, depending on JSON)
    jData = json.loads(myResponse.content)
    #jData = json.loads(myResponse2.content, 'utf-8') #use this line if your data contains special characters

    print("The response contains {0} properties".format(len(jData)))
    for key in jData:
        print key + " : " + jData[key]
  # If response code is not ok (200), print the resulting http error code with description


======working with JSON data

For example, if data.json file looks like this:


The python code should be something looks like this:

import json

with open('data.json') as data_file:    
    data = json.load(data_file)

We can now  access single values in the json file — see below for some examples to get a sense of it:

data["maps"][0]["id"]  # will return 'blabla'
data["masks"]["id"]    # will return 'mask-value'
data["om_points"]      # will return 'value'


Read file from line 2 or skip header row in Python

This post introduces how to read file from line 2 in Python.

  • method 1:
with open(fname) as f:
  for line in f:
    #do something

Note: If you need the header later, instead of next(f) use f.readline() and store it as a variable.
Or use header_line = next(f).

  • method 2
f = open(fname,'r')
lines = f.readlines()[1:]

This will skip 1 line. for example, [‘a’, ‘b’, ‘c’][1:] => [‘b’, ‘c’]


Open multiple files using “open ” and “with open” in Python

This post introduces two ways to open multiple files in Python.

  • “with open” # do not need to bother to close the file(s) if use “with open”
with open("datafile.csv" , "r") as f:
with open("datafile2.csv" , "r") as f2:


  with open('file.csv', 'w') as f, open('file2.csv', 'w') as f2:
except IOError as e:
  print 'Operation failed: %s' % e.strerror
  • “open”  # need to close the file when use open.
f = open("datafile.csv" , "r")
f2 = open("datafile2.csv" , "r")




Remove a character from a string using Python

This post introduces how to remove / replace a character from a string using Python.

In Python, strings are immutable, so we need to create a new string. If you want to remove the ‘;’ wherever it appears. See below for an example.

Remove character”;”

>>> original_str = "good; ok"
>>> new_str = original_str.replace(";","")
>>> print(new_str)
good ok

See the examples below for different ways to check whether a string contains a specific character.

>>> s = "good; ok"
>>> ";" in s
>>> ";" not in s
>>> s.find(";") == -1
>>> s. find(";") != -1
>>> chars = set(";o")
>>> if any((c in chars) for c in s):
>>> print("Found")
>>> import re
>>> pattern = re.compile(r";o")
>>> if pattern.findall(s):
>>> print("Found")



How to delete a character from a string using python?

Remove all special characters, punctuation and spaces from string

How to check a string for specific characters? (pdf)

Create a hash table for large data in python

This post introduces how to create a hash table in python.

Text files can have duplicates which will overwrite existing keys in your dictionary (the python name for a hash table). We can create a unique set of the keys, and then use a dictionary comprehension to populate the dictionary.




Python code:

with open("sample_file.txt") as f:
  keys = set(line.strip() for line in f.readlines())
my_dict = {key: 1 for key in keys if key}

>>> my_dict
{'a': 1, 'b': 1, 'c': 1}