Is there a builtin identity function in python?

| | | |

👻 Check our latest review to choose the best laptop for Machine Learning engineers and Deep learning tasks!

I"d like to point to a function that does nothing:

def identity(*args)
    return args

my use case is something like this

try:
    gettext.find(...)
    ...
    _ = gettext.gettext
else:
    _ = identity

Of course, I could use the identity defined above, but a built-in would certainly run faster (and avoid bugs introduced by my own).

Apparently, map and filter use None for the identity, but this is specific to their implementations.

>>> _=None
>>> _("hello")
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
TypeError: "NoneType" object is not callable

👻 Read also: what is the best laptop for engineering students?

Is there a builtin identity function in python? filter: Questions

List comprehension vs. lambda + filter

5 answers

I happened to find myself having a basic filtering need: I have a list and I have to filter it by an attribute of the items.

My code looked like this:

my_list = [x for x in my_list if x.attribute == value]

But then I thought, wouldn"t it be better to write it like this?

my_list = filter(lambda x: x.attribute == value, my_list)

It"s more readable, and if needed for performance the lambda could be taken out to gain something.

Question is: are there any caveats in using the second way? Any performance difference? Am I missing the Pythonic Way‚Ñ¢ entirely and should do it in yet another way (such as using itemgetter instead of the lambda)?

957

Answer #1

It is strange how much beauty varies for different people. I find the list comprehension much clearer than filter+lambda, but use whichever you find easier.

There are two things that may slow down your use of filter.

The first is the function call overhead: as soon as you use a Python function (whether created by def or lambda) it is likely that filter will be slower than the list comprehension. It almost certainly is not enough to matter, and you shouldn"t think much about performance until you"ve timed your code and found it to be a bottleneck, but the difference will be there.

The other overhead that might apply is that the lambda is being forced to access a scoped variable (value). That is slower than accessing a local variable and in Python 2.x the list comprehension only accesses local variables. If you are using Python 3.x the list comprehension runs in a separate function so it will also be accessing value through a closure and this difference won"t apply.

The other option to consider is to use a generator instead of a list comprehension:

def filterbyvalue(seq, value):
   for el in seq:
       if el.attribute==value: yield el

Then in your main code (which is where readability really matters) you"ve replaced both list comprehension and filter with a hopefully meaningful function name.

957

Answer #2

This is a somewhat religious issue in Python. Even though Guido considered removing map, filter and reduce from Python 3, there was enough of a backlash that in the end only reduce was moved from built-ins to functools.reduce.

Personally I find list comprehensions easier to read. It is more explicit what is happening from the expression [i for i in list if i.attribute == value] as all the behaviour is on the surface not inside the filter function.

I would not worry too much about the performance difference between the two approaches as it is marginal. I would really only optimise this if it proved to be the bottleneck in your application which is unlikely.

Also since the BDFL wanted filter gone from the language then surely that automatically makes list comprehensions more Pythonic ;-)

Is there a builtin identity function in python? filter: Questions

How do I do a not equal in Django queryset filtering?

5 answers

MikeN By MikeN

In Django model QuerySets, I see that there is a __gt and __lt for comparative values, but is there a __ne or != (not equals)? I want to filter out using a not equals. For example, for

Model:
    bool a;
    int x;

I want to do

results = Model.objects.exclude(a=True, x!=5)

The != is not correct syntax. I also tried __ne.

I ended up using:

results = Model.objects.exclude(a=True, x__lt=5).exclude(a=True, x__gt=5)
784

Answer #1

You can use Q objects for this. They can be negated with the ~ operator and combined much like normal Python expressions:

from myapp.models import Entry
from django.db.models import Q

Entry.objects.filter(~Q(id=3))

will return all entries except the one(s) with 3 as their ID:

[<Entry: Entry object>, <Entry: Entry object>, <Entry: Entry object>, ...]

Finding the index of an item in a list

5 answers

Given a list ["foo", "bar", "baz"] and an item in the list "bar", how do I get its index (1) in Python?

3740

Answer #1

>>> ["foo", "bar", "baz"].index("bar")
1

Reference: Data Structures > More on Lists

Caveats follow

Note that while this is perhaps the cleanest way to answer the question as asked, index is a rather weak component of the list API, and I can"t remember the last time I used it in anger. It"s been pointed out to me in the comments that because this answer is heavily referenced, it should be made more complete. Some caveats about list.index follow. It is probably worth initially taking a look at the documentation for it:

list.index(x[, start[, end]])

Return zero-based index in the list of the first item whose value is equal to x. Raises a ValueError if there is no such item.

The optional arguments start and end are interpreted as in the slice notation and are used to limit the search to a particular subsequence of the list. The returned index is computed relative to the beginning of the full sequence rather than the start argument.

Linear time-complexity in list length

An index call checks every element of the list in order, until it finds a match. If your list is long, and you don"t know roughly where in the list it occurs, this search could become a bottleneck. In that case, you should consider a different data structure. Note that if you know roughly where to find the match, you can give index a hint. For instance, in this snippet, l.index(999_999, 999_990, 1_000_000) is roughly five orders of magnitude faster than straight l.index(999_999), because the former only has to search 10 entries, while the latter searches a million:

>>> import timeit
>>> timeit.timeit("l.index(999_999)", setup="l = list(range(0, 1_000_000))", number=1000)
9.356267921015387
>>> timeit.timeit("l.index(999_999, 999_990, 1_000_000)", setup="l = list(range(0, 1_000_000))", number=1000)
0.0004404920036904514
 

Only returns the index of the first match to its argument

A call to index searches through the list in order until it finds a match, and stops there. If you expect to need indices of more matches, you should use a list comprehension, or generator expression.

>>> [1, 1].index(1)
0
>>> [i for i, e in enumerate([1, 2, 1]) if e == 1]
[0, 2]
>>> g = (i for i, e in enumerate([1, 2, 1]) if e == 1)
>>> next(g)
0
>>> next(g)
2

Most places where I once would have used index, I now use a list comprehension or generator expression because they"re more generalizable. So if you"re considering reaching for index, take a look at these excellent Python features.

Throws if element not present in list

A call to index results in a ValueError if the item"s not present.

>>> [1, 1].index(2)
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
ValueError: 2 is not in list

If the item might not be present in the list, you should either

  1. Check for it first with item in my_list (clean, readable approach), or
  2. Wrap the index call in a try/except block which catches ValueError (probably faster, at least when the list to search is long, and the item is usually present.)

3740

Answer #2

One thing that is really helpful in learning Python is to use the interactive help function:

>>> help(["foo", "bar", "baz"])
Help on list object:

class list(object)
 ...

 |
 |  index(...)
 |      L.index(value, [start, [stop]]) -> integer -- return first index of value
 |

which will often lead you to the method you are looking for.

3740

Answer #3

The majority of answers explain how to find a single index, but their methods do not return multiple indexes if the item is in the list multiple times. Use enumerate():

for i, j in enumerate(["foo", "bar", "baz"]):
    if j == "bar":
        print(i)

The index() function only returns the first occurrence, while enumerate() returns all occurrences.

As a list comprehension:

[i for i, j in enumerate(["foo", "bar", "baz"]) if j == "bar"]

Here"s also another small solution with itertools.count() (which is pretty much the same approach as enumerate):

from itertools import izip as zip, count # izip for maximum efficiency
[i for i, j in zip(count(), ["foo", "bar", "baz"]) if j == "bar"]

This is more efficient for larger lists than using enumerate():

$ python -m timeit -s "from itertools import izip as zip, count" "[i for i, j in zip(count(), ["foo", "bar", "baz"]*500) if j == "bar"]"
10000 loops, best of 3: 174 usec per loop
$ python -m timeit "[i for i, j in enumerate(["foo", "bar", "baz"]*500) if j == "bar"]"
10000 loops, best of 3: 196 usec per loop

We hope this article has helped you to resolve the problem. Apart from Is there a builtin identity function in python?, check other filter-related topics.

Want to excel in Python? See our review of the best Python online courses 2022. If you are interested in Data Science, check also how to learn programming in R.

By the way, this material is also available in other languages:



Carlo Emmerson

Rome | 2022-12-10

Simply put and clear. Thank you for sharing. Is there a builtin identity function in python? and other issues with std was always my weak point 😁. Will get back tomorrow with feedback

Carlo Emmerson

Vigrinia | 2022-12-10

I was preparing for my coding interview, thanks for clarifying this - Is there a builtin identity function in python? in Python is not the simplest one. Will use it in my bachelor thesis

Boris Ungerschaft

Boston | 2022-12-10

Simply put and clear. Thank you for sharing. Is there a builtin identity function in python? and other issues with filter was always my weak point 😁. I just hope that will not emerge anymore

Shop

Learn programming in R: courses

$

Best Python online courses for 2022

$

Best laptop for Fortnite

$

Best laptop for Excel

$

Best laptop for Solidworks

$

Best laptop for Roblox

$

Best computer for crypto mining

$

Best laptop for Sims 4

$

Latest questions

NUMPYNUMPY

Common xlabel/ylabel for matplotlib subplots

12 answers

NUMPYNUMPY

How to specify multiple return types using type-hints

12 answers

NUMPYNUMPY

Why do I get "Pickle - EOFError: Ran out of input" reading an empty file?

12 answers

NUMPYNUMPY

Flake8: Ignore specific warning for entire file

12 answers

NUMPYNUMPY

glob exclude pattern

12 answers

NUMPYNUMPY

How to avoid HTTP error 429 (Too Many Requests) python

12 answers

NUMPYNUMPY

Python CSV error: line contains NULL byte

12 answers

NUMPYNUMPY

csv.Error: iterator should return strings, not bytes

12 answers

News


Wiki

Python | How to copy data from one Excel sheet to another

Common xlabel/ylabel for matplotlib subplots

Check if one list is a subset of another in Python

sin

How to specify multiple return types using type-hints

exp

Printing words vertically in Python

exp

Python Extract words from a given string

Cyclic redundancy check in Python

Finding mean, median, mode in Python without libraries

cos

Python add suffix / add prefix to strings in a list

Why do I get "Pickle - EOFError: Ran out of input" reading an empty file?

Python - Move item to the end of the list

Python - Print list vertically