[Python-ideas] Adding a thin wrapper class around the functions in stdlib.heapq

Nick Coghlan ncoghlan at gmail.com
Thu Nov 23 05:18:27 EST 2017

On 23 November 2017 at 17:13, Grant Jenks <grant.jenks at gmail.com> wrote:

> And it will work! The heap algorithm is exposed through a high-level
> functional interface so that you can take advantage of duck-typing. This is
> an important Python feature.

Nobody is proposing taking the functional interface away (just as nobody is
proposing to take the bisect module away).

Instead, the argument is:

- the heapq functions need to be combined with concrete storage to be useful
- a simple wrapper class that combines them with a given list (or other
mutable sequence) is short and easy to maintain
- such a wrapper class is also useful in its own right for basic heap use
- so let's provide one in the collections module

The potential arguments against that are:

- this means yet-another-data-type in the collections module, so it will
make the collections module harder to learn
- people will be confused as to whether they should use collections.Heap or
the heapq functions

The risks of both of those outcomes seem low, since the main current source
of confusion appears to be folks looking for a concrete "Heap" container
type, and being surprised when they get told they either need to be build a
DIY one from a list + the heapq functions, or else install a 3rd party
dependency to get a preassembled one.


Nick Coghlan   |   ncoghlan at gmail.com   |   Brisbane, Australia
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