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For 2021 - online Python 3 training - see ((here)).

Our plans were to retire in summer 2020 and see the world, but Coronavirus has lead us into a lot of lockdown programming in Python 3 and PHP 7.
We can now offer tailored online training - small groups, real tutors - works really well for groups of 4 to 14 delegates. Anywhere in the world; course language English.

Please ask about private 'maintenance' training for Python 2, Tcl, Perl, PHP, Lua, etc.
Python sets and frozensets - what are they?

A Python set is like a dictionary, but without a value being held.

Quite often, I'll have a long list of names / places / skills / words and I want to make up a unique list - to produce a pulldown menu, for example, in which each occurs just once.

I could do that with a dictionary - either storing the value "1" into each pair's value as I add pairs to the dictionary, or by keeping an arbitary count of the number of times each name / place / skill / word appears, in the full knowledge that I won't actually be using the count. Example [here].

A much better solution is to use a set; A set is an unordered collection of keys, held without any values. If I use the add method on a set, a new element will indeed be added if the key requested is new, but there will be no change if the item is an already existing key.

Here's an example of the use of a set - to get me a unique list of places served in a list of public transport routes:

  records = """London Rugby Coventry Birmingham Wolverhampton
  Derby Birmingham Cheltenham Gloucester Bristol Taunton
  London Reading Swindon Stroud Gloucester Cheltenham
  London Reading Swindon Chippenham Bath Bristol Weston-super-Mare"""
  locations = set()
  for record in records.splitlines():
    for place in record.split():
  print locations

Running that, I get:

  wizard:oct11 graham$ python pyset
  set(['Cheltenham', 'Wolverhampton', 'Rugby', 'Coventry', 'Stroud',
  'Weston-super-Mare', 'Chippenham', 'Taunton', 'Bath', 'London',
  'Bristol', 'Derby', 'Birmingham', 'Reading', 'Swindon', 'Gloucester'])
  wizard:oct11 graham$

So that's a unique list of all the places, but in no particular order. Full source [here].

My set is itereable - in other words I can use it as the incoming "list" to a for loop, I can use the keyword in to check whether an element exists, and I can use the len() function to find how many elements there are in my set ...

A frozenset is an immutable set - it's set up with the frozenset() function call, but once it's set up its contents cannot be altered. Operations which are non-intrusive (i.e. read only) work on a frozenset in the same way that they work on sets, but of course anything that writes to / modifies a set can't be used on a frozenset.

A Python set is similar to a Java HashSet - example [here]. And to complete that Java comparison, a python dictionary is similar to a java HashMap or Hashtable.
(written 2011-10-20)

Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
Y107 - Python - Dictionaries
  [103] Can't resist writing about Python - (2004-10-29)
  [955] Python collections - mutable and imutable - (2006-11-29)
  [1144] Python dictionary for quick look ups - (2007-04-12)
  [1145] Using a list of keys and a list of values to make a dictionary in Python - zip - (2007-04-13)
  [2368] Python - fresh examples of all the fundamentals - (2009-08-20)
  [2915] Looking up a value by key - associative arrays / Hashes / Dictionaries - (2010-08-11)
  [2986] Python dictionaries - reaching to new uses - (2010-10-05)
  [2994] Python - some common questions answered in code examples - (2010-10-10)
  [3464] Passing optional and named parameters to python methods - (2011-10-04)
  [3554] Learning more about our web site - and learning how to learn about yours - (2011-12-17)
  [3555] Football league tables - under old and new point system. Python program. - (2011-12-18)
  [3662] Finding all the unique lines in a file, using Python or Perl - (2012-03-20)
  [3934] Multiple identical keys in a Python dict - yes, you can! - (2012-11-24)
  [4027] Collections in Python - list tuple dict and string. - (2013-03-04)
  [4029] Exception, Lambda, Generator, Slice, Dict - examples in one Python program - (2013-03-04)
  [4409] Setting up and using a dict in Python - simple first example - (2015-01-30)
  [4469] Sorting in Python 3 - and how it differs from Python 2 sorting - (2015-04-20)
  [4661] Unique word locator - Python dict example - (2016-03-06)
  [4668] Sorting a dict in Python - (2016-04-01)

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Who is knocking at your web site door? Are you well set up to deal with allcomers?
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Python courses and Private courses - gently updating our product to keep it ahead of the game
Python sets and frozensets - what are they?
Public transport - road and rail
How important is public transport to people in the Melksham area?
Perl - retrieving and caching web resources
A Melksham Timeline - Domesday to present day
Canals, watererways in the Melksham area
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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