request for Details about Dictionaries in Python

Tim Golden mail at
Fri Mar 14 18:15:26 CET 2008

Matt Nordhoff wrote:
> Michael Wieher wrote:
>> I'm not sure if a well-written file/seek/read algorithm is faster than a
>> relational database...
>> sure a database can store relations and triggers and all that, but if
>> he's just doing a lookup for static data, then I'm thinking disk IO is
>> faster for him?  not sure
> I would think that rolling your own solution would get complicated
> enough that it would be easier to just use SQLite or something. If you
> wanted to go to the effort, you could probably get something faster, but
> if SQLite is fast enough, who cares?

I would concur with this, in general. It may be that, for some
very particular situations some specialised storage format is
superior, but it's *very* easy to start writing your lean and
mean data storage / algorithm / thingy only to run into *exactly*
the same issues which the guys who wrote the existing ones have
already hit and solved. Problems scaling; concurrency; robustness
to error conditions and network / hardware issues &c.

And in any case, the usual wisdom applies here: rather than guess
which is faster, try it. (There is no "guess": only "try" ;) Using
say SQLite (possibly in memory mode) and get some figures. Then
do the same with a shelve solution or some prototype of your own
devising and see where the gains are.


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