How do I get a reference to a KEY value of a dictionary?

Andy C ayc8NOSPAM at
Sat Aug 2 12:05:17 CEST 2003

I don't see how I can do this and let me eliminate duplicates.  I need to
assign the old duplicate string to the unique string that already exists.
Hence the question, how do I get a reference to the KEY value?  I know I can
use keys() and do a linear search, but that is much more inefficient.  I
would like to get a reference to the key value in the same time that it
takes to do a hash lookup (constant time).

Basically I would want to rewrite this section of the code I posted:

        nodes = self.nodes
        if nodes.has_key( node2 ):
            node2 = nodes[ node2 ]
            nodes[ node2 ] = node2

This dictionary seems stupid, I agree.  The keys and values are the same.
But in the first part of the if, I want to reassign node2 to an equivalent
string that already exists.  How can I do that?

The intern solution seems reasonable, and it appears that it was designed
specifically for this problem.  I wasn't aware of the implementation
problems.  But I'm still curious about different ways to do it.

> That makes some sense, but why use the string object for both key and
> value?  Just do
>     d[key] = True
> You could optimize your coding style (if not your speed) in Python 2.3
> by using sets.  I'd recommend against using intern(), because in Python
> 2.2 and earlier, interned strings *never* get garbage collected.  Even
> in Python 2.3, you may end up with worse memory behavior.
> --
> Aahz (aahz at           <*>
> This is Python.  We don't care much about theory, except where it
> with useful practice.  --Aahz

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