Switch statement (was: Lambda going out of fashion)

rzed jello at comics.com
Thu Dec 23 20:57:27 CET 2004

Skip Montanaro <skip at pobox.com> wrote in
news:mailman.8354.1103817745.5135.python-list at python.org: 

>     Stephen> {
>     Stephen>  'one': lambda x:x.blat(),
>     Stephen>  'two': lambda x:x.blah(),
>     Stephen> }.get(someValue, lambda x:0)(someOtherValue)
> One thing to remember is that function calls in Python are
> pretty damn expensive.  If x.blat() or x.blah() are themselves
> only one or two lines of code, you might find that your "switch"
> statement is better written as an if/elif/else statement. 
> You're making potentially three function calls (get(), lambda
> and x.blat() or x.blah()) to perform what might only be a small
> handful of inline statements.  I'll ignore the readability cost
> of your solution vs. an if statement.
>     Stephen> So, the questions I am asking are: Is this okay
>     with everyone? 
> Sure.  I'll adjust.
>     Stephen> Does anyone else feel that lambda is useful in this
>     kind of Stephen> context?
> It's useful in this sort of context.  It will probably always be
> limited to single expressions, which will always leave it a
> second-class citizen in Python.  Interestingly enough, lambda in
> the Lisp world has the same limitation, however, since Lisp code
> is nothing but a series of s-expressions, that's not a problem.
>     Stephen> Are there alternatives I have not considered?
> I've never seen a situation where if/elif/else wasn't adequate
> or was less clear than the many attempts at switch-like
> behavior. 
> Folks (in general), there is still an open PEP on a switch
> statement for Python.  It's been idle since late 2001:
>     http://www.python.org/peps/pep-0275.html
> It would help if interested people were to take a look at it and
> identify open issues.  If you google for pep 275 you will
> probably find relevant python-dev discussions from the 2001/2002
> timeframe.  Thomas Wouters' patch for the interpreter would also
> need to be resurrected and brought up-to-date.  I not longer
> remember why the PEP stalled. 

It seems to me that it was regarded as misguidod.


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