Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Python Notes

Some python notes for pre-interview revision

Range vs Xrange

xrange is a sequence object that evaluates lazily. range creates a list, so if you do range(1, 10000000) it creates a list in memory with 10000000 elements. xrange is a generator, so it is a sequence object is a that evaluates lazily.


  • Immutable
  • s = ("a","b","c") #paranthesis are optional
  • Indexing support just like lists
  • print(1,2,3) #prints 3 numbers
  • print((1,2,3)) #prints a tuple
  • a = () #empty tuple
  • a = (2,) #singleton tuple
  • a,b = interprets the result of the expression as a tuple with two values.
  • a,b = b,a #swaps the variables
  • a,b = [1,2] #obvious
  • a,b = [1,2,3] #ValueError : Too many values to unpack
  • a,*b = [1,2,3] #a=1 and b=[2,3]


  • A hash map, key value pairs, is unordered.
  • Keys must be unique and only consist of immutable objects like strings


  • Lists, strings and tuples are example of sequences.
  • Supports "Membership Tests" : (for i in arr, for i not in arr)
  • Supports Indexing Operations and Slicing


  • Unordered collection of simple objects
  • Supports test for membership


  • arr = [1,2,3]
  • arr2 = arr
  • arr3 = arr[:] #this makes a copy by full slicing
  • del arr[0]
  • print arr2 #[2,3]
  • print arr3 #[1,2,3]
  • Explaination: Assigning a variabel name to another variable name just makes creates a reference to the original object. If you want to make a completely new object and not just a reference then you have to use copy.

Object Oriented Programming


  • Objects that belong to the class or the instance of the class are called fields.
  • Objects that belong to the class are called class variables and objects that belong to the instance of the class are called instance variables.


  • Python equivalent of this pointer in C++ or this reference in java and C#.
  • The name self can be changed to something else also, although its not recommended you do that.
  • Self is used to create a reference to the object being created of the class, so a call like 'myobject.method(arg1,arg2)' gets internally inflated as 'MyClass.method(myobject,arg1,arg2)'
@staticmethod decorator
  • Those methods which belong exclusively to the class and not its instances

Implementing Inheritance

  • class SchoolMember():...
  • class Teacher(SchoolMember):...

Special Methods in Classes

  • __inti__(self, ...) : Called right before the newly created object is returned for usage.
  • __del__(self) : Called just before the object is destroyed.
  • __str__(self) : Called when we use the print function of when str() is used.
  • __lt__(self,other) : called when less than operator is used (<), Similarly there are methods for all the operators (+,>,- etc)
  • __getitem__(self,key): Called when x[key] indexing call is made. 
  • __len__(self) : Called when the built-in len() function is used for sequence object.


  • Else: this block is executed in the case everything is fine and no exceptions occur.
  • Finally: this block is executed when all the exception cases are met and the interpreter is about to exit the try block

User defined Exception Class

class ShortInputException():
    def __init__(self,length,atleast):
        self.length = length
        self.atleast = atleast

#Now lets raise this exception
if len(text) < 3: raise ShortInputException(len(text),3)

Lambda Expression

  • A lambda statement is used to create new function objects.

points = [{'x':2,'y':30},{'x':1,'y':9}] 
points.sort(key=lambda i : i['y']) 
[{’x’: 1, ’y’: 9}, {’x’: 2, ’y’: 30}]

Recieving tuples and dictionaries of indefinite lengths in functions

oints.sort(key=lambda i : i['y']) 
def sum(*args): 
    ''' Returns the sume of all the parameters ''' 
    return sum(a)
>>> 113

Because we have a * prefix on the args variable, all extra arguments passed to the function are stored in args as a tuple. If a ** prefix had been used instead, the extra parameters would be considered to be key/value pairs of a dictionary.

The Assert Statement

def sum(a,b): 
    assert type(a) == int 
    assert type(b) == int 
    return sum(a,b)

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