I have a situation with some code where eval() came up as a possible solution. Now I have never had to use eval() before but, I have come across plenty of information about the potential danger it can cause. That said, I’m very wary about using it.

My situation is that I have input being given by a user:

datamap = raw_input('Provide some data here: ')Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

Where datamap needs to be a dictionary. I searched around and found that eval() could work this out. I thought that I might be able to check the type of the input before trying to use the data and that would be a viable security precaution.

datamap = eval(raw_input('Provide some data here: ')
if not isinstance(datamap, dict):
    returnCode language: JavaScript (javascript)

I read through the docs and I am still unclear if this would be safe or not. Does eval evaluate the data as soon as its entered or after the datamap variable is called?

Is the ast module’s .literal_eval() the only safe option?

datamap = eval(raw_input('Provide some data here: ')) means that you actually evaluate the code before you deem it to be unsafe or not. It evaluates the code as soon as the function is called. See also the dangers of eval.

ast.literal_eval raises an exception if the input isn’t a valid Python datatype, so the code won’t be executed if it’s not.

Use ast.literal_eval whenever you need eval. You shouldn’t usually evaluate literal Python statements.

Refer: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/15197673/using-pythons-eval-vs-ast-literal-eval

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