Jumping around when assigning elements

Peter Otten __peter__ at web.de
Tue Dec 16 01:22:25 CET 2003

Matthew Sims wrote:

> Is there anyway to assign to an element that wasn't defined in the
> beginning? Like if I wanted element 5 assigned but not element 4
> without using "" or None?

You can write your own class:

class GrowingList(list):
    def __init__(self, seq, default=None):
        list.__init__(self, seq)
        self.default = default
    def __setitem__(self, index, value):
        if index >= len(self):
            self.extend([self.default]*(index - len(self)))
            list.__setitem__(self, index, value)

g = GrowingList(["alpha", "beta", "gamma"])
g[7] = "omega"
print g

This is a partial implementation, only g[index] = value will work.

> I'm currently re-writing a Perl script into Python and with Perl I was
> free to assign any element in the array without having to fill in the
> previous elements. I can't seem to do that in Python...unless I'm
> doing it wrong.

As already pointed out, a mechanical translation will yield substandard
results. As you did not describe the problem you are solving with the
"autogrowing" list, there is little chance for us to come up with a better
or at least more idiomatic approach.


PS: Welcome to the worst programming language - except all others :-)

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