Equivalents of Ruby's "!" methods?

Terry Reedy tjreedy at udel.edu
Mon Aug 25 18:57:21 CEST 2008



Paul McGuire wrote:

> Pythonistically speaking, even though a dict is a mutable thing, I'm
> learning that the accepted practice for methods like this is not so
> much to update in place as it is to use generator expressions to
> construct a new object.

I disagree.  The convention is that mutation methods should return None.

 >  For example, given a list of integers to 100,
> instead of removing all of the even numbers (with the attendant
> hassles of updating a list while iterating over it), just create a new
> list of the numbers that are not even.

This is because each removal is O(n), making the entire process O(n*2), 
whereas a new list is O(n) -- and the hassle of remembering to iterate 
in reverse when doing removals.

> Perhaps I am overgeneralizing from comments I have read here on c.l.py
> about creating new lists instead updating old ones.

I think so.  Removals and insertions are importantly different from 
change in place.  If I wanted to square each number in a list, and *did 
not need the original list*, I would not hesitate to do it in place.

The newish sorted() and reversed() built-ins were meant to complement 
list.sort and list.reverse, not replace them.

tjr




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