copy to Python (Deep Copy and Shallow Copy)

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Sometimes a copy is required so that you can change one copy without changing another. Python has two ways of making copies:

  • Deep copy
  • Shallow copy

To make these copies, we use copy module. We use the copy module for shallow and deep copy operations. For example

# import copy module

import copy


# initialize list 1

li1 = [ 1 , 2 , [ 3 , 5 ], 4 ]


# use copy for shallow copy

li2 = co py.copy (li1)


# using Deepcopy for Deepcopy

li3 = copy.deepcopy (li1)

In the above code, copy () returns a shallow copy of the list, and deepcopy () returns a deep copy of the list.

deepcopy

Deep Copy — it is a process in which the copying process occurs recursively. This means first creating a new collection object and then recursively filling it with copies of the child objects found in the original. In the case of a deep copy, a copy of an object is copied to another object. This means that any changes made to the copy of the object are not reflected in the original object. In python this is done using the deepcopy () function.

# Python code to demonstrate copy operations


# import & quot; copy & quot; for copy operations

import copy


# initializing list 1

li1 = [ 1 , 2 , [ 3 , 5 ], 4 ]


# using Deepcopy to deep copy

li2 = copy.deepcopy (li1)


# original list items

print ( "The original elements before deep copying" )

for i in range ( 0 , len (li1)):

print (li1 [i], end = " " )

print ( " " )


# add and item to new list

li2 [ 2 ] [ 0 ] = 7


# The change is reflected in l2

print ( "The new list of elements after deep copying " )

for i in range ( 0 , len (li1)):

print (li2 [i], end = "" )

p rint ( "" )


# Change is NOT reflected in the original list
# like a deep copy

print ( "The original elements after deep copying" )

for i in range ( 0 , len (li1)):

print (li1 [i], end = "" )

Exit:

 The original elements before deep copying 1 2 [3, 5] 4 The new list of elements after deep copying 1 2 [7, 5] 4 The original elements after deep copying 1 2 [3, 5] 4 

In the above example, a change made to the list did not affect other lists, indicating deep copying list.

Shallow copy

Shallow copy means creating a new collection object and then populating it with references to child objects found in the original. The copying process does not repeat itself and therefore does not create copies of the child objects themselves. In the case of a shallow copy, a reference to an object is copied to another object. This means that any changes made to the copy of the object are reflected in the original object. Python does this with the " copy () " function.

# Python code to demonstrate copy operations


# import & quot; copy & quot; for copy operations

import copy


# initializing list 1

li1 = [ 1 , 2 , [ 3 , 5 ], 4 ]


# use copy for shallow copy

li2 = copy.copy (li1)


# original list items

print ( " The original elements before shallow copying " )

for i in range ( 0 , len (li1)):

print (li1 [i], end = "" )

print ( "" )


# add and item to new list

li2 [ 2 ] [ 0 ] = 7


# check if the change is reflected

print ( "The original elements after shallow copying" )

for i in range ( 0 , len (li1)):

print (li1 [i], end = " " )

Exit:

 The o riginal elements before shallow copying 1 2 [3, 5] 4 The original elements after shallow copying 1 2 [7, 5] 4 

In the above example, the change made to the list is took effect on another list, indicating that the list was copied.

Important points:
The difference between shallow and deep copies only applies to composite objects (objects that contain other objects, such as lists or class instances):

  • The shallow copy creates a new composite object and then (as far as possible) inserts references to objects found in the original.
  • A deep copy creates a new compound object and then recursively inserts copies of the objects found in the original into it.

copy to Python (Deep Copy and Shallow Copy) insert: Questions

How to insert newlines on argparse help text?

5 answers

I"m using argparse in Python 2.7 for parsing input options. One of my options is a multiple choice. I want to make a list in its help text, e.g.

from argparse import ArgumentParser

parser = ArgumentParser(description="test")

parser.add_argument("-g", choices=["a", "b", "g", "d", "e"], default="a",
    help="Some option, where
"
         " a = alpha
"
         " b = beta
"
         " g = gamma
"
         " d = delta
"
         " e = epsilon")

parser.parse_args()

However, argparse strips all newlines and consecutive spaces. The result looks like

~/Downloads:52$ python2.7 x.py -h
usage: x.py [-h] [-g {a,b,g,d,e}]

test

optional arguments:
  -h, --help      show this help message and exit
  -g {a,b,g,d,e}  Some option, where a = alpha b = beta g = gamma d = delta e
                  = epsilon

How to insert newlines in the help text?

406

Answer #1

Try using RawTextHelpFormatter:

from argparse import RawTextHelpFormatter
parser = ArgumentParser(description="test", formatter_class=RawTextHelpFormatter)

Is a Python list guaranteed to have its elements stay in the order they are inserted in?

5 answers

If I have the following Python code

>>> x = []
>>> x = x + [1]
>>> x = x + [2]
>>> x = x + [3]
>>> x
[1, 2, 3]

Will x be guaranteed to always be [1,2,3], or are other orderings of the interim elements possible?

366

Answer #1

Yes, the order of elements in a python list is persistent.

Inserting image into IPython notebook markdown

5 answers

I am starting to depend heavily on the IPython notebook app to develop and document algorithms. It is awesome; but there is something that seems like it should be possible, but I can"t figure out how to do it:

I would like to insert a local image into my (local) IPython notebook markdown to aid in documenting an algorithm. I know enough to add something like <img src="image.png"> to the markdown, but that is about as far as my knowledge goes. I assume I could put the image in the directory represented by 127.0.0.1:8888 (or some subdirectory) to be able to access it, but I can"t figure out where that directory is. (I"m working on a mac.) So, is it possible to do what I"m trying to do without too much trouble?

277

Answer #1

Most of the answers given so far go in the wrong direction, suggesting to load additional libraries and use the code instead of markup. In Ipython/Jupyter Notebooks it is very simple. Make sure the cell is indeed in markup and to display a image use:

![alt text](imagename.png "Title")

Further advantage compared to the other methods proposed is that you can display all common file formats including jpg, png, and gif (animations).

copy to Python (Deep Copy and Shallow Copy) mean: Questions

Meaning of @classmethod and @staticmethod for beginner?

5 answers

user1632861 By user1632861

Could someone explain to me the meaning of @classmethod and @staticmethod in python? I need to know the difference and the meaning.

As far as I understand, @classmethod tells a class that it"s a method which should be inherited into subclasses, or... something. However, what"s the point of that? Why not just define the class method without adding @classmethod or @staticmethod or any @ definitions?

tl;dr: when should I use them, why should I use them, and how should I use them?

1726

Answer #1

Though classmethod and staticmethod are quite similar, there"s a slight difference in usage for both entities: classmethod must have a reference to a class object as the first parameter, whereas staticmethod can have no parameters at all.

Example

class Date(object):

    def __init__(self, day=0, month=0, year=0):
        self.day = day
        self.month = month
        self.year = year

    @classmethod
    def from_string(cls, date_as_string):
        day, month, year = map(int, date_as_string.split("-"))
        date1 = cls(day, month, year)
        return date1

    @staticmethod
    def is_date_valid(date_as_string):
        day, month, year = map(int, date_as_string.split("-"))
        return day <= 31 and month <= 12 and year <= 3999

date2 = Date.from_string("11-09-2012")
is_date = Date.is_date_valid("11-09-2012")

Explanation

Let"s assume an example of a class, dealing with date information (this will be our boilerplate):

class Date(object):

    def __init__(self, day=0, month=0, year=0):
        self.day = day
        self.month = month
        self.year = year

This class obviously could be used to store information about certain dates (without timezone information; let"s assume all dates are presented in UTC).

Here we have __init__, a typical initializer of Python class instances, which receives arguments as a typical instancemethod, having the first non-optional argument (self) that holds a reference to a newly created instance.

Class Method

We have some tasks that can be nicely done using classmethods.

Let"s assume that we want to create a lot of Date class instances having date information coming from an outer source encoded as a string with format "dd-mm-yyyy". Suppose we have to do this in different places in the source code of our project.

So what we must do here is:

  1. Parse a string to receive day, month and year as three integer variables or a 3-item tuple consisting of that variable.
  2. Instantiate Date by passing those values to the initialization call.

This will look like:

day, month, year = map(int, string_date.split("-"))
date1 = Date(day, month, year)

For this purpose, C++ can implement such a feature with overloading, but Python lacks this overloading. Instead, we can use classmethod. Let"s create another "constructor".

    @classmethod
    def from_string(cls, date_as_string):
        day, month, year = map(int, date_as_string.split("-"))
        date1 = cls(day, month, year)
        return date1

date2 = Date.from_string("11-09-2012")

Let"s look more carefully at the above implementation, and review what advantages we have here:

  1. We"ve implemented date string parsing in one place and it"s reusable now.
  2. Encapsulation works fine here (if you think that you could implement string parsing as a single function elsewhere, this solution fits the OOP paradigm far better).
  3. cls is an object that holds the class itself, not an instance of the class. It"s pretty cool because if we inherit our Date class, all children will have from_string defined also.

Static method

What about staticmethod? It"s pretty similar to classmethod but doesn"t take any obligatory parameters (like a class method or instance method does).

Let"s look at the next use case.

We have a date string that we want to validate somehow. This task is also logically bound to the Date class we"ve used so far, but doesn"t require instantiation of it.

Here is where staticmethod can be useful. Let"s look at the next piece of code:

    @staticmethod
    def is_date_valid(date_as_string):
        day, month, year = map(int, date_as_string.split("-"))
        return day <= 31 and month <= 12 and year <= 3999

    # usage:
    is_date = Date.is_date_valid("11-09-2012")

So, as we can see from usage of staticmethod, we don"t have any access to what the class is---it"s basically just a function, called syntactically like a method, but without access to the object and its internals (fields and another methods), while classmethod does.

1726

Answer #2

Rostyslav Dzinko"s answer is very appropriate. I thought I could highlight one other reason you should choose @classmethod over @staticmethod when you are creating an additional constructor.

In the example above, Rostyslav used the @classmethod from_string as a Factory to create Date objects from otherwise unacceptable parameters. The same can be done with @staticmethod as is shown in the code below:

class Date:
  def __init__(self, month, day, year):
    self.month = month
    self.day   = day
    self.year  = year


  def display(self):
    return "{0}-{1}-{2}".format(self.month, self.day, self.year)


  @staticmethod
  def millenium(month, day):
    return Date(month, day, 2000)

new_year = Date(1, 1, 2013)               # Creates a new Date object
millenium_new_year = Date.millenium(1, 1) # also creates a Date object. 

# Proof:
new_year.display()           # "1-1-2013"
millenium_new_year.display() # "1-1-2000"

isinstance(new_year, Date) # True
isinstance(millenium_new_year, Date) # True

Thus both new_year and millenium_new_year are instances of the Date class.

But, if you observe closely, the Factory process is hard-coded to create Date objects no matter what. What this means is that even if the Date class is subclassed, the subclasses will still create plain Date objects (without any properties of the subclass). See that in the example below:

class DateTime(Date):
  def display(self):
      return "{0}-{1}-{2} - 00:00:00PM".format(self.month, self.day, self.year)


datetime1 = DateTime(10, 10, 1990)
datetime2 = DateTime.millenium(10, 10)

isinstance(datetime1, DateTime) # True
isinstance(datetime2, DateTime) # False

datetime1.display() # returns "10-10-1990 - 00:00:00PM"
datetime2.display() # returns "10-10-2000" because it"s not a DateTime object but a Date object. Check the implementation of the millenium method on the Date class for more details.

datetime2 is not an instance of DateTime? WTF? Well, that"s because of the @staticmethod decorator used.

In most cases, this is undesired. If what you want is a Factory method that is aware of the class that called it, then @classmethod is what you need.

Rewriting Date.millenium as (that"s the only part of the above code that changes):

@classmethod
def millenium(cls, month, day):
    return cls(month, day, 2000)

ensures that the class is not hard-coded but rather learnt. cls can be any subclass. The resulting object will rightly be an instance of cls.
Let"s test that out:

datetime1 = DateTime(10, 10, 1990)
datetime2 = DateTime.millenium(10, 10)

isinstance(datetime1, DateTime) # True
isinstance(datetime2, DateTime) # True


datetime1.display() # "10-10-1990 - 00:00:00PM"
datetime2.display() # "10-10-2000 - 00:00:00PM"

The reason is, as you know by now, that @classmethod was used instead of @staticmethod

1726

Answer #3

@classmethod means: when this method is called, we pass the class as the first argument instead of the instance of that class (as we normally do with methods). This means you can use the class and its properties inside that method rather than a particular instance.

@staticmethod means: when this method is called, we don"t pass an instance of the class to it (as we normally do with methods). This means you can put a function inside a class but you can"t access the instance of that class (this is useful when your method does not use the instance).

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