Steve posted a coding challenge a few days ago - a change dispenser. I thought it would be a nice exercise for my fledgling Python skills and implemented it with just a small variation on pluralizing coin denominations.

def make_change(amt):
output = "Change is "
coins = (['quarte|r|rs', 25], ['dim|e|es', 10], ['nicke|l|ls', 5], ['penn|y|ies',1])
for i in coins:
r = amt // i[1]
if(r > 0):
coinout = re.split('\|', i[0])
output += "%d %s%s " % (r, coinout[0], coinout[1:][r > 1])
amt = amt - (r * i[1])
print output


A few things I learned along the way:

* I was reminded that dictionary objects do not guarantee order.

* I was using Python regular expressions to do a match on the string "this |and|or that" and discovered if you use match with simply \|(\w+) it returns nothing since the match must start from the beginning of the string!

* I was going to use a lambda expression for the pluralization but that's such a large hammer for what in the end would become a split

Python's behavior with booleans is another point of interest - when I test the following: coinout[1:][r > 1] I'm taking advantage of anything true being a 1. I wonder if this is "bad" but it's a seductive thing to take advantage of...