common problem - elegant solution sought

Tim Golden mail at
Tue Jan 15 11:55:03 CET 2008

Helmut Jarausch wrote:
> I'm looking for an elegant solution of the following tiny but common problem.
> I have a list of tuples  (Unique_ID,Date) both of which are strings.
> I want to delete the tuple (element) with a given Unique_ID, but
> I don't known the corresponding Date.
> My straight forward solution is a bit lengthy, e.g.
> L=[("a","070501"),("b","080115"),("c","071231")]
> pos=-1
> found=-1
> for (Key,Date) in L :
>      pos+= 1
>      if  Key == "b" :
>          found= pos
>          break
> if  found >= 0 :
>      del L[found]
> print L
> Most probably there are much more elegant solutions.
> Unfortunately, the index-list-method doesn't take an
> additional function argument for the comparisons.

Probably the most common solution to this in Python
is to produce a second list which has all the items
in the first except for the one(s) you wish to delete:

L2 = [(uniqid, date) for (uniqid, date) in L if not uniqid == 'b']

It might look a little wasteful, but since Python lists
are supremely fast and since the tuples themselves aren't
copied, only their references, the result is probably what
you need.

Obviously you've given us a toy example, which is fine for
demonstrating the problem. Suggestions might vary if, for
example, your data set were much bigger or if the tuples
were more complex.


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