Negative array indicies and slice()
andrew3 at r3dsolutions.com
Mon Oct 29 07:01:45 CET 2012
On 10/29/2012 04:19 AM, Steven D'Aprano wrote:
> On Mon, 29 Oct 2012 00:54:29 -0700, Andrew wrote:
> Slices and iterators have different purposes and therefore have not been
> made interchangeable. Yes, there are certain similarities between a slice
> and xrange, but there are also significant differences.
Aha, now were getting to the actual subject.
>> In 'C', where Python is written,
> That's a popular misapprehension. Python is written in Java, or Lisp, or
> Haskell, or CLR (dot Net), or RPython, or Ocaml, or Parrot. Each of those
> languages have, or had, at least one Python implementation. Oh, there's
> also a version written in C, or so I have heard.
I didn't say it was only written in "C", but in "C" where it is
I will be porting Python 3.xx to a super low power embedded processor
(MSP430), both space and speed are at a premium.
Running Python on top of Java would be a *SERIOUS* mistake. .NET won't
even run on this system. etc.
>> Thank you for the code snippet; I don't think it likely that existing
>> programs depend on nor use a negative index and a positive index
>> expecting to take a small chunk in the center...
> On the contrary. That is the most straightforward and useful idea of
> slicing, to grab a contiguous slice of items.
Show me an example where someone would write a slice with a negative and
a positive index (both in the same slice);
and have that slice grab a contiguous slice in the *middle* of the list
with orientation of lower index to greater index.
I have asked before; It's not that I don't think it possible -- it's
that I can't imagine a common situation.
> Why would you want to grab a slice from the end of the list, and a slice
> from the start of the list, and swap them around? Apart from simulating
> card shuffles and cuts, who does that?
Advanced statistics programmers using lookup tables that are
symmetrical. Try Physicists too -- but they're notably weird.
>> My intended inferences about the iterator vs. slice question was perhaps
>> not obvious to you; Notice: an iterator is not *allowed* in
> Actually, you can write __getitem__ for your own classes to accept
> anything you like.
Yes, I realize that.
But, why can't I just overload the existing __getitem__ for lists and
not bother writing an entire class?
Everything in Python is supposed to be an object and one of the big
supposed "selling" points is the ability to overload "any" object's methods.
The lists aren't special -- they're just a bunch of constant decimal
numbers, typically given as a large tuple.
> py> class Test:
> ... def __getitem__(self, index):
> ... return index
>>> class Test:
... def __getitem__( self, *index ):
... return index
No extra curlies required...
> You say that as if it were a bad thing.
hmmm... and you as if sarcastic? :-)
It is a bad thing to have any strictly un-necessary and non-code saving
objects where memory is restricted.
> What existing class is that? It certainly isn't xrange.
> Because xrange represents a concrete sequence of numbers, all three of
> start, end and stride must be concrete, known, integers:
Let's up the ante. I'll admit xrange() won't do "later" fill in the
blank -- BUT --
xrange() is a subclass of an *existing* class called iterator.
Iterators are very general. They can even be made random.
>> The philosophy of Python is to have exactly one way to do something when
>> possible; so, why create a stand alone class that does nothing an
>> existing class could already do, and do it better ?
> py> xrange(4, None, 2)
> Traceback (most recent call last):
> File "<stdin>", line 1, in<module>
> TypeError: an integer is required
Let's try your example exactly as shown...
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
NameError: name 'aslice' is not defined
Where did the blanks *actually* get filled in? Or HOW WILL they in your
> On the contrary, a simple list of three values not only could not do
> everything a slice does, but it's over twice the size!
Yeah, There is a definite issue there. But the case isn't decided by
that number alone.
A slice is storing three integers -- and an integer is size is 12.
So, slices don't use integers. If the type that *IS* used happens to be
a real Python type, we may merely typecast integers to that type --
insert them in a tuple and by definition, they must be the same size.
Looking at some of the online programming notes -- a slice apparently
doesn't use an integer storage variable that is capable of arbitrary
expansion. =-O -- and hence, won't work for very large sized lists.
That actually explains some crashes I have noted in the past when
working with 20 million element lists that I wanted a slice of. I had
*plenty* of ram on that system.
Besides: The program code to implement slice() is undoubtedly larger
than 12 bytes of savings!
How many slices() are typically found in memory simultaneously?
You're on the way to convincing me -- but you need to show off this fill
in the blank issue.
That's a difference of kind -- and not of size.
An iterator, could be an object with methods... So what common
application uses this "fill" in the blank stuff?
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