# slicings: 3 questions

Robert Kern robert.kern at gmail.com
Thu Jan 29 22:41:28 CET 2009

```On 2009-01-29 15:33, Alan G Isaac wrote:
>> On Thu, Jan 29, 2009 at 10:01 AM, Alan G Isaac <alan.isaac at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>> 2. It seems that slice objects and range objects are
>>> awfully similar in many ways. Is this "appearance only",
>>> or was there any discussion of unifying them?
>>> Curious for insight...
>
>
> On 1/29/2009 1:37 PM Chris Rebert apparently wrote:
>> Wouldn't really be possible, IMHO. True, they both have notions of
>> start, stop, and step, but slices don't make sense as ranges without
>> knowing the length of the container.
>
> Slices seem somewhat more general than ranges.
>
>
>> For example, take the slice
>> `1:-2:1`. This is somewhat equivalent to range(1, -2, 1). However,
>> since -2 < 1 (stop < start ) and 1 (the step) is positive, the range
>> is nonsensical.
>
> Or rather, it makes sense, but is empty.
> But I take your point.
>
> However, I would turn it around slightly and ask:
> when is it not the case that
> range(*slice(start,stop,step).indices(stop)) != range(stop,start,step)
>
> If there are no interesting cases, then it seems
> that range might derive from slice.
> Just curious...

It's possible that it *could*, but there's also no real benefit to doing so.

>> You have to replace all the negative indices with calculated positive
>> indices first in order to have a sensical range(), in this case,
>> replacing the stop of -2 with len(container)-2.
>> Also, more fundamentally, Python is liberal in what it allows for the
>> parts of slices, so unifying slices with ranges would break code. For
>> example, Python is perfectly happy if I go slice("a",[8],object), none
>> of which are even numbers.
>
> Ah, this is new in Python 3 I take it?

No.

Python 2.5.1 (r251:54869, Apr 18 2007, 22:08:04)
[GCC 4.0.1 (Apple Computer, Inc. build 5367)] on darwin
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> slice("a",[8],object)
slice('a', [8], <type 'object'>)

> I was not aware of this. Use case?

It allows (ab)uses like numpy.mgrid:

>>> mgrid[0:10:11j]
array([  0.,   1.,   2.,   3.,   4.,   5.,   6.,   7.,   8.,   9.,  10.])

--
Robert Kern

"I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma
that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had
an underlying truth."
-- Umberto Eco

```

More information about the Python-list mailing list