Learning Python – Part 2

Forewords

A while back I decided to try and learn Python for the hell of it as it seems like an interesting language and has some of the most concise and user-friendly syntax. Having spent some time going through a number of different learning sources and materials (like the official site python.org which has a very helpful tutorial section) I have put together a set of notes I made as I was learning and hopefully they can be useful to you as a quick list of how-to code snippets.

All the code snapshots I’m showing here are taken from the IDLE Python shell.

Lists

To create a new list:

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Lists are NOT immutable:

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Use the in keyword to check whether an element is in the specified list:

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Nesting lists:

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The min and max functions:

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The list function – you can use the list() function to convert a tuple to a list:

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Element values of a tuple cannot be changed and tuple elements are put between parenthesis instead of square bracket:

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Deleting an item from list:

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or you can use the remove() function:

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Replace portion of list with slicing:

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Insert a list into another list with slicing:

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Delete a portion of list with slicing:

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Appending to a list by using simple concatenation:

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or use append or extend, the difference being append adds a single element to the list where as extend works like the concatenation above.

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now compare this to extend:

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Like in Javascript, you can use a list like a stack (FILO) too:

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You can also use a list as a queue (FIFO) using the collections.deque function:

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Sorting a list:

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you can do the same to a string too using the sorted function:

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To construct an empty tuple:

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To construct a tuple with a single item:

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You can unpack a tuple or list (like the pattern matching in F#):

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There must be the same number of elements on the left as the tuple on the right:

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Use the range() function to generate a range of integers:

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Use the filter() function to filter a list:

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Use the map() function to project a sequence’s items to something else:

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you can also use it like the zip() method in F# by passing in multiple sequences:

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if the lists are not of equal length, None is used to fill in the gap:

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Use the reduce() function to return a single value from a list of element, e.g. to sum the numbers 1-4:

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you can also pass in a third argument to indicate the starting value of the accumulator:

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You can remove an item from a list using its index with the del statement:

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note that del statement doesn’t return any values.

You can also use it to delete the entire list or part of the list:

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or to delete the variable itself:

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List comprehensions (similar to those in F#):

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If the result is a tuple, then it must be parenthesized:

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You can add additional filters:

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Or you can have a loop inside another loop:

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Nested List Comprehensions, e.g. to turn the columns of a matrix into rows:

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remember, read nested comprehensions from right to left!

Nested comprehensions is a powerful tool but adds complexity, where possible, use built-in functions. E.g. the above can be done using zip():

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When looping through a sequence, the position index and corresponding value can be retrieved at the same time using the enumerate() function:

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You can also use zip() function to loop over two or more sequences at the same time:

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Yan Cui

I’m an AWS Serverless Hero and the author of Production-Ready Serverless. I have run production workload at scale in AWS for nearly 10 years and I have been an architect or principal engineer with a variety of industries ranging from banking, e-commerce, sports streaming to mobile gaming. I currently work as an independent consultant focused on AWS and serverless.

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