Terry Reedy tjreedy at
Thu Aug 7 09:01:38 CEST 2003

"Jeremy Fincher" <fincher.*> wrote in message
news:bgsqj5$228$1 at
> Sometimes I find myself simply wanting the length of an iterator.

An iterator is a function/method that traverses (or possibly
generates) a seqeuence.  The sequence has a length (actual or
potential) but the iterator does not.

>  For example, to collect some (somewhat useless ;))
>  statistics about a program  of mine, I've got code like this:
>         objs = gc.get_objects()
>         classes = len([obj for obj in objs if inspect.isclass(obj)])
>         functions = len([obj for obj in objs if
>         modules = len([obj for obj in objs if
>         dicts = len([obj for obj in objs if type(obj) ==
>         lists = len([obj for obj in objs if type(obj) ==
>         tuples = len([obj for obj in objs if type(obj) ==

Alternative: initialize six counters to 0.  Scan list once and update
appropriate counter.

> Now, obviously I can (and will, now that 2.3 is officially released
> replace the list comprehensions with itertools.ifilter, but I need
> itertools.ilen to find the length of such iterators.

You mean the associated sequence.

> I can imagine such a need arises in more useful situations than
this, but
> this is the particular case that brought the need to mind.
> The Python code is simple, obviously:
> def ilen(iterator):
>     i = 0
>     for _ in iterator:
>         i += 1
>     return i
> But it's a pity to use itertools' super-fast iterators and have to
use slow,
> raw Python to determine their length :)

If you mean a c-coded counter (which would not be an iterator itself)
equivalent to the above, that could be done.  Perhaps len() could be
upgraded/extended to accept an iterator and count when it can't get a
__len__ method to call.  The main downside is that iterators are
sometimes destructive (run once only).

In the meanwhile, is this really a bottleneck for you? or merely the
'pity' of a program running in 1 sec when 0.1 is possible?

Terry J. Reedy

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