function-arguments by reference

EsC christian.eslbauer at
Tue Dec 30 16:56:17 CET 2003


thanks for your explanations!

i want to avoid performance-problems by repeated (very often)
function-calls with very long strings.
in some languages (C, PHP, Powerbuilder, ...) i have the opportunity,
to pass "by value" or "by reference/pointer)".

"by value": the CPU must perform a complete copy of the string
"by reference/pointer": only a long value (address) is passed ...
the performance difference is in most cases unimportant, but sometimes ...

Unfortunately i made an error by testing the behavior of Phyton, and
so i thougt, LISTs are also passed "by value".
But this isn't true, and so i can solve my problem by putting the string-
argument in the first place of a list.


"Christos TZOTZIOY Georgiou" <tzot at> schrieb im Newsbeitrag
news:79v2vv0ijgdvqu354uh4mh21v4b3liurj0 at
> On Tue, 30 Dec 2003 14:21:46 +0100, rumours say that "EsC"
> <christian.eslbauer at> might have written:
> >Hy!
> >
> >is it possible to pass function-arguments by reference?
> >(for example in PHP you can use the "&" operator ... )
> >
> >thx
> >iolo
> >
> There is no such concept as "pass by value" in python.  Only references
> are passed around, and therefore there is no special syntax for that.
> What you need to understand is that objects can be mutable (changeable)
> or immutable.  Search for these terms in the python documentation.
> In other languages, variables are a container: they contain a "value".
> In python, "variables" are only "names" referring to "objects" and they
> have no "value".  If you assign anything to a name, you just change the
> object it is pointing to.
> Presumably you ask this question because you want your function to pass
> back some more data than its return value.  Python handles fine multiple
> values, check for "tuple" in the docs.
> An example: (I am not familiar with php, therefore I will write program
> A in pseudocode, but you will get the point I hope)
> function f(&a):
>    if (a > 10) then a = 10
>    return (a*2)
> var = 20
> result = f(var)
> This function makes sure that the "var" variable stays less than or
> equal to 10, and then returns the double of the corrected argument.
> In python you would do this:
> def f(a):
>    if a > 10:
>       a = 10
>    return a, a*2
> var = 20
> var, result = f(var)
> If not covered, please write back.
> PS reading this could be helpful too:
> -- 
> TZOTZIOY, I speak England very best,
> Ils sont fous ces Redmontains! --Harddix

More information about the Python-list mailing list