Iterating Over Dictionary From Arbitrary Location

akindo akindo01 at
Sat Jun 6 11:12:12 EDT 2009

Hi all. I am new to Python and have a problem regarding data structures.

In my application I will be having several messages and my own type of  
IDs (Lamport clocks) to go with these messages. I will need to  
frequently ask for specific messages based on the ID. Hence a  
dictionary seems a better choice than a list, as I will be using my  
own IDs to index into the data structure. However, the problem is that  
I will also at times ask for a specific message based on the ID key,  
but then want _all_ messages with a higher ID returned as  
well. :shock: From my research, there are two problems with a  
dictionary then: 1. it can't be sorted (only returns a sorted list),  
2. even if it was possible to sort a dictionary, it is not possible to  
iterate over it from a given location.

So, it seems I want the best of both worlds: specific indexing using  
my own IDs/keys (not just by list element location), sorting and the  
ability to start iterating from a specific location. I am trying to  
prevent having to scan through a list from the beginning to find the  
desired ID, and then return all elements after that. Is there another  
data structure or design pattern which will do what I want? Thanks a  
lot for any help! :)

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