[Python-Dev] join()

David Ascher da at ski.org
Fri Jun 11 22:11:11 CEST 1999

On Fri, 11 Jun 1999, Guido van Rossum wrote:

> > I still don't understand the motivation for making it a builtin instead of a
> > method of the types it operates on.  Making it a builtin seems very
> > un-object-oriented to me.
> Because if you make it a method, every sequence type needs to know
> about joining strings. 

It still seems to me that we could do something like F/'s proposal, where
sequences can define a join() method, which could be optimized if the
first element is a string to do what string.join, by placing the class
method in an instance method of strings, since string joining clearly has
to involve at least one string.


class SequenceType:

  def join(self, separator=None):

    if hasattr(self[0], '__join__')
      # covers all types which can be efficiently joined if homogeneous
      return self[0].__join__(self, separator)

    # for the rest:
    if separator is None:
      return map(operator.add, self)

    result = self[0]
    for element in self[1:]:
       result = result + separator + element
    return result

where the above would have to be done in abstract.c, with error handling,
etc. and with strings (regular and unicode) defining efficient __join__'s
as in:

class StringType:
  def join(self, separator):
    raise AttributeError, ...

  def __join__(self, sequence):
    return string.join(sequence)  # obviously not literally that =)

class UnicodeStringType:
  def __join__(self, sequence):
    return unicode.join(sequence)

(in C, of course).

Yes, it's strange to fake class methods with instance methods, but it's
been done before =).  Yes, this means expanding what it means to "be a
sequence" -- is that impossible without breaking lots of code?


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