Generating a PasswordΒΆ

This first project was inspired by the Library and Information Systems staff here at Luther, who insist that I change my password every 180 days or lose access to all online college services.

There are many options for generating a password, but perhaps the most common is to choose a random sequence of characters. We can do this easily in Python using a simple for loop a string accumulator, and a random number generator.

We will use variable called pw_length to store the length of our new password. Then we will iterate pw_length times using a for statement where each time through the loop we will generate a random number between 0 and 25 which will correspond to one of the letters in our alphabet string. We will use the accumulator pattern to build up a string character by character until we have a password of pw_length characters. Here is the full solution in Python.

(gen_pw_1)

You should step through the program line by line, paying particular attention to the values of i, next_index and mypw. In particular note that next_index gives us a random number each time through the loop that is the index of the character in the alphabet string that we will use as the next letter in our password. the expression alphabet[next_index] evaluates to a single character at position next_index in the alphabet string. If you pay attention to mypw you will see that it gets longer by one character each time through the loop. You may even want to take a second to count to character next_index and verify that that is the charcter added to the end of mypw. Remember that computer scientists start counting at 0!

Now this is not a very good password generator, because it won’t generate a password that our IS department will accept. Our IS department demands that the password must have at least one number, and an uppercase character in it.

Extend the password generator program so that it satisfies the conditions of our IS department. To make life easy, you can make the assumption that you might need to run the password generator more than once to get a password that makes IS happy. We’ll look at the solution in the next installment, and start in on a password generator this is a bit more fun.

Your Assignment

If you are brand new to Python and/or programming, here are some links that can give you some background:

Next Section - Solution: A Better Password Generator