recently I wrote an algorithm, in which very often I had to get an arbitrary element from a set without removing it.
Three possibilities came to mind:
1. x = some_set.pop() some_set.add(x)
2. for x in some_set: break
3. x = iter(some_set).next()
Of course, the third should be the fastest. It nevertheless goes through all the iterator creation stuff, which costs some time. I wondered, why the builtin set does not provide a more direct and efficient way for retrieving some element without removing it. Is there any reason for this?
I imagine something like
x = some_set.get()
x = some_set.pop(False)
and am thinking about providing a patch against setobject.c (preferring the .get() solution being a stripped down pop()).
Before, I would like to know whether I have overlooked something or whether this can be done in an already existing way.