Schwartzian Transform (was Re: Sort)

Steve Horne sh at
Thu Dec 7 07:20:39 EST 2000

On Wed, 6 Dec 2000 14:16:53 -0500, "Steven D. Majewski"
<sdm7g at Virginia.EDU> wrote:

>On Wed, 6 Dec 2000, Alex Martelli wrote:
>> The technique is named after its inventor Randall
>> Schwartz, who thought it up in the context of Perl
>> (but it works even better in Python:-).

>This is however, a pretty ancient Python idiom, so I wonder
>about attributing it to Randall's invention. 

Even older still, I think. I'd have to double check, but I swear
similar tricks were used decades ago in normal 3GLs, to cope with
library sort functions that didn't take parameters. Certainly I used
it in 1988, at least 8 years before I ever heard of Perl or Python.

Some people somehow seem to get their names associated with
restatements of the obvious.

I have to say I'm a little surprised by the scale of the speedup, but
even so I'd usually not bother. The lambda method is clearer, and
works just as well unless you're sorting a lot of data. If I was
worried about the difference between 0.0353952707969 and
0.220513718779 seconds, I wouldn't be using a scripting language.

Steve Horne
Home : steve at
Work : sh at

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