[Python-ideas] 'default' keyword argument for max(), min()

George Sakkis george.sakkis at gmail.com
Thu Apr 16 23:06:17 CEST 2009

On Thu, Apr 16, 2009 at 2:57 PM, Raymond Hettinger <python at rcn.com> wrote:

> I think the default arg is a bridge too far.  This is evidenced by the
> complexity of the suggested implementations (remember the zen of python).

FWIW, the following works good enough for my use cases:

def min2(*args, **kwds):
    if 'default' not in kwds:
        return min(*args, **kwds)
    default = kwds.pop('default')
    try: return min(*args, **kwds)
    except ValueError, ex:
        if 'arg is an empty sequence' in ex.message:
            return default

As an aside, it would be nice If min/max start raising a more narrow
ValueError subtype, say EmptyIterableError, so that hacks such as
checking the exception message are not necessary.


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