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3.3.5 Emulating container types

The following methods can be defined to implement container objects. Containers usually are sequences (such as lists or tuples) or mappings (like dictionaries), but can represent other containers as well. The first set of methods is used either to emulate a sequence or to emulate a mapping; the difference is that for a sequence, the allowable keys should be the integers k for which 0 <= k < N where N is the length of the sequence, or slice objects, which define a range of items. (For backwards compatibility, the method __getslice__() (see below) can also be defined to handle simple, but not extended slices.) It is also recommended that mappings provide the methods keys(), values(), items(), has_key(), get(), clear(), setdefault(), iterkeys(), itervalues(), iteritems(), pop(), popitem(), copy(), and update() behaving similar to those for Python's standard dictionary objects. The UserDict module provides a DictMixin class to help create those methods from a base set of __getitem__(), __setitem__(), __delitem__(), and keys(). Mutable sequences should provide methods append(), count(), index(), extend(), insert(), pop(), remove(), reverse() and sort(), like Python standard list objects. Finally, sequence types should implement addition (meaning concatenation) and multiplication (meaning repetition) by defining the methods __add__(), __radd__(), __iadd__(), __mul__(), __rmul__() and __imul__() described below; they should not define __coerce__() or other numerical operators. It is recommended that both mappings and sequences implement the __contains__() method to allow efficient use of the in operator; for mappings, in should be equivalent of has_key(); for sequences, it should search through the values. It is further recommended that both mappings and sequences implement the __iter__() method to allow efficient iteration through the container; for mappings, __iter__() should be the same as iterkeys(); for sequences, it should iterate through the values.

 

 
__len__( self)
Called to implement the built-in function len() . Should return the length of the object, an integer >= 0. Also, an object that doesn't define a __nonzero__() method and whose __len__() method returns zero is considered to be false in a Boolean context.

 

 
__getitem__( self, key)
Called to implement evaluation of self[key]. For sequence types, the accepted keys should be integers and slice objects. Note that the special interpretation of negative indexes (if the class wishes to emulate a sequence type) is up to the __getitem__() method. If key is of an inappropriate type, TypeError may be raised; if of a value outside the set of indexes for the sequence (after any special interpretation of negative values), IndexError should be raised. Note: for loops expect that an IndexError will be raised for illegal indexes to allow proper detection of the end of the sequence.

 

 
__setitem__( self, key, value)
Called to implement assignment to self[key]. Same note as for __getitem__(). This should only be implemented for mappings if the objects support changes to the values for keys, or if new keys can be added, or for sequences if elements can be replaced. The same exceptions should be raised for improper key values as for the __getitem__() method.

 

 
__delitem__( self, key)
Called to implement deletion of self[key]. Same note as for __getitem__(). This should only be implemented for mappings if the objects support removal of keys, or for sequences if elements can be removed from the sequence. The same exceptions should be raised for improper key values as for the __getitem__() method.

 

 
__iter__( self)
This method is called when an iterator is required for a container. This method should return a new iterator object that can iterate over all the objects in the container. For mappings, it should iterate over the keys of the container, and should also be made available as the method iterkeys().

Iterator objects also need to implement this method; they are required to return themselves. For more information on iterator objects, see ``Iterator Types'' in the Python Library Reference.

The membership test operators (in and not in) are normally implemented as an iteration through a sequence. However, container objects can supply the following special method with a more efficient implementation, which also does not require the object be a sequence.

 

 
__contains__( self, item)
Called to implement membership test operators. Should return true if item is in self, false otherwise. For mapping objects, this should consider the keys of the mapping rather than the values or the key-item pairs.

 

  

 

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