[Python-Dev] Making sure dictionary adds/deletes during iteration always raise exception

Max Moroz maxmoroz at gmail.com
Tue Dec 13 04:51:08 EST 2016

Would it be worth ensuring that an exception is ALWAYS raised if a key
is added to or deleted from a dictionary during iteration?

Currently, dict.__iter__ only raises "RuntimeError" when "dictionary
changed size during iteration". I managed to add 1 key and delete 1
key from the dictionary in the same iteration of the loop (the code
was in a callback function invoked in the loop) - of course without
any exception. (I hope I'm right in assuming that adding and deleting
entries in the loop is unsafe whether or not number of adds equals
number of deletes.)

I suspect the cost of a more comprehensive error reporting is not
worth the benefit, but I thought I'd ask anyway.

Here's a pure python prototype that would always raise on unsafe
add/delete. The main cost is the addition of a counter keeping track
of the number of modifications made to the dictionary (the work done
inside __iter__ is probably not adding any runtime cost because it
replaces roughly equivalent code that currently verifies that the
length didn't change):

class SafeKeyIter:
    def __init__(self, iterator, container):
        self.iterator = iterator
        self.container = container
            self.n_modifications = container.n_modifications
        except AttributeError:
            raise RuntimeError('container does not support safe iteration')

    def __next__(self):
        if self.n_modifications != self.container.n_modifications:
            raise RuntimeError('container entries added or deleted
during iteration')
        return next(self.iterator)

class SafeView:
    def __init__(self, view, container):
        self.view = view
        self.container = container

    def __iter__(self):
        return SafeKeyIter(self.view.__iter__(), self.container)

class SafeDict(dict):
    def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
        self.n_modifications = 0
        super().__init__(*args, **kwargs)

    def __setitem__(self, key, value):
        if key not in self:
            self.n_modifications += 1
        super().__setitem__(key, value)

    def __delitem__(self, key):
        self.n_modifications += 1

    def __iter__(self):
        return SafeKeyIter(super().__iter__(), self)

    def keys(self):
        return SafeView(super().keys(), self)

    def values(self):
        return SafeView(super().values(), self)

    def items(self):
        return SafeView(super().items(), self)

# this raises RuntimeError:
d = SafeDict({1: 2})
for k in d:
    d[k * 100] = 100
    del d[k]

# while it wouldn't raise for a built-in dict
d = {1: 2}
for k in d:
    d[k * 100] = 100
    del d[k]

There was a brief discussion on SO after I asked a question about this
behavior, and later answered it:


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