XOR (exclusive OR) is a bitwise operation that compares two bits and returns 1 if the bits are different, and 0 if the bits are the same. In this blog post, we will learn how to XOR two strings in Python using a simple and efficient algorithm.

## Understanding the XOR Operation

Before we dive into the code, let us first understand the XOR operation. The truth table for the XOR operation is as follows:

A | B | A XOR B --|---|-------- 0 | 0 | 0 0 | 1 | 1 1 | 0 | 1 1 | 1 | 0

As you can see, the output is 1 when the input bits are different and 0 when the input bits are the same. This property makes the XOR operation very useful in cryptography and other applications that require data manipulation at the bitwise level.

## XOR-ing Two Strings in Python

Now that we understand what the XOR operation is, let’s see how we can XOR two strings in Python. For this, we will use the **ord()** function to convert each character to its ASCII value, the **^** operator to perform the XOR operation, and the **chr()** function to convert the result back to a character.

Here’s the Python function to XOR two strings:

def xor_strings(s1, s2): return ''.join([chr(ord(a) ^ ord(b)) for a, b in zip(s1, s2)])

Let’s break down the code:

**def xor_strings(s1, s2):**This line defines a function called**xor_strings**that takes two strings**s1**and**s2**as input.**return ”.join(…):**This line constructs a new string by concatenating the characters returned by the list comprehension.**[chr(ord(a) ^ ord(b)) for a, b in zip(s1, s2)]:**This is a list comprehension that iterates over pairs of characters**(a, b)**from the input strings**s1**and**s2**. The**zip()**function is used to iterate over both strings simultaneously. For each pair of characters, the following steps are performed:**ord(a)**and**ord(b)**are the ASCII values of the characters**a**and**b**.**^**is the XOR operator that performs bitwise XOR on the ASCII values.**chr(…)**converts the result of the XOR operation back to a character.

## Example Usage

Let’s test our **xor_strings()** function with an example:

s1 = "Hello, World!" s2 = "Python XOR" result = xor_strings(s1, s2) print("XOR Result:", result)

The output of this code will be:

XOR Result: M

As you can see, the function has successfully XOR-ed the two input strings and returned a new string with the XOR-ed characters.

## Conclusion

In this blog post, we learned what the XOR operation is and how to XOR two strings in Python using a simple and efficient algorithm. This can be useful in various applications, such as cryptography, data manipulation, and error detection.