ANNOUNCE: Thesaurus - a recursive dictionary subclass using attributes

Ian Kelly ian.g.kelly at
Tue Dec 11 22:53:12 CET 2012

On Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 1:57 PM, Dave Cinege <dave at> wrote:
> On Tuesday 11 December 2012 01:41:38 Ian Kelly wrote:
>> Second, in __getitem__ you start a loop with "for i in
>> range(len(l)):", and then you use i as an index into l several times.
>> It would be cleaner and more Pythonic to do "for i, part in
>> enumerate(l):", and then you can replace every occurrence of "l[i]"
> My python is still 'old school' due to being stuck on old versions for in
> production embedded system python applications.

Just out of curiosity, how old are we talking?  enumerate was added in
Python 2.3, which is nearly 10 years old.  Prior to 2.2 I don't think
it was even possible to subclass dict, which would make your Thesaurus
implementation unusable, so are these systems running Python 2.2?

>> It's not clear to me what the isinstance call here is meant to be
>> testing for.
> It's used to determine if it's the root instance of the recursive string
> because, not self must be used to access that. Can you offer a better
> way?
>> The prior statements require key to be a string.  If key
>> is a string, then by construction l[0] is also a string.  So it seems
>> to me that the isinstance check here will always be False.
> OK, try and remove it and then get back to me. :-)

Okay.  I replaced this code:

    if isinstance(l[0], (dict, Thesaurus)):
        a =
        a = self


    a = self

and then I ran the examples, and the output was unchanged.  As Steven
pointed out, I don't see how that first branch could succeed anyway,
since is never defined.

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