Why are there no ordered dictionaries?

Christoph Zwerschke cito at online.de
Mon Nov 21 23:09:57 CET 2005

Fredrik Lundh wrote:
> I'll repeat this one last time: for the use cases presented by Zwerschke
> and "bonono", using a list as the master data structure, and creating the
> dictionary on demand, is a lot faster than using a ready-made ordered
> dict implementation.  if you will access things via the dictionary a lot,
> you can cache the dictionary somewhere.  if not, you can recreate it
> several times and still get a net win.

You're right in pointing out that the advantage of ordered dictionaries 
(unless you use an omptimized C implementation) is not a performance gain.

But please see my other reply: If the dictionary has more than 3 items 
(say 10 or 20), and an effective ordered dict is used, it's not really 
"a lot" slower. At least if we are talking about a situation were "on 
demand" is "always". So, on the other side there isn't such a big 
performance loss when using ordered dictionaries as well.

The advantage of using an ordered dictionary is that you can set up your 
ordered dictionary (say, describing your database columns) once, and 
then can access it in any way you like in the following: Iterate over it 
in a guaranteed order or access item, always refering to the same 
object, without needing to care about building and caching auxiliary 
objects with different names depending on what you are doing.

-- Christoph

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