Python: most idiomatic way to convert None to empty string?

What is the most idiomatic way to do the following?

def xstr(s):
    if s is None:
        return ''
    else:
        return s

s = xstr(a) + xstr(b)

update: I’m incorporating Tryptich’s suggestion to use str(s), which makes this routine work for other types besides strings. I’m awfully impressed by Vinay Sajip’s lambda suggestion, but I want to keep my code relatively simple.

def xstr(s):
    if s is None:
        return ''
    else:
        return str(s)

Answer

If you actually want your function to behave like the str() built-in, but return an empty string when the argument is None, do this:

def xstr(s):
    if s is None:
        return ''
    return str(s)

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