[Tutor] Finding the shortest word in a list of words

Lie Ryan lie.1296 at gmail.com
Tue Jan 20 20:23:43 CET 2009

On Tue, 20 Jan 2009 09:20:22 -0800, Marc Tompkins wrote:

> On Tue, Jan 20, 2009 at 5:42 AM, Lie Ryan <lie.1296 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> > Using sys.maxint to prime minLen is overkill, of course -
>> > "antidisestablishmentarianism" is only 28 letters long, after all -
>> > but it should be larger than any word you can expect to see. This
>> > doesn't catch ties, though... could do that like so:
>> Other than overkill, it is wrong. If the shortest "word" is longer than
>> maxint it'd give wrong result.
> What language do you speak (or machine do you use), where the shortest
> word in a potential list is longer than maxint?  On my machine maxint is
> 2,147,483,647.  That's what I meant by overkill.

what I meant as wrong is that it is possible that the code would be used 
for a string that doesn't represent human language, but arbitrary array 
of bytes. Also, it is a potential security issue.

> You could just simply use the len of the first word.
> True dat.  Requires an extra step or two, though - initializing with
> some impossibly huge number is quick.

len() is fast, and it also removes the need to import sys, which actually 
removes an extra step or two

>> The best solution though, have been answered by Kent Johnson.
> Extremely terse and elegant, doesn't find ties.
> Output: No

which, at the time of writing, was my impression on the OP's request.

> Mine returns (2, ['No', 'is'], 9, ['repressed', 'alienated']).  I could
> be wrong - it seemed more like what the OP actually wanted, but he'd be
> the judge of that.

More information about the Tutor mailing list