Python Jumpstart by Building 10 Apps Transcripts
Chapter: App 9: Real Estate Analysis App
Lecture: Concept: list comprehensions

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0:00 One really powerful language construct in Python
0:03 is this thing called a list comprehension
0:05 that lets us take procedural code and condense it down to declarative code.
0:10 Here we have a bunch of customers,
0:12 and we'd like to know just the customers who purchased today.
0:15 And we don't want all the information about the customers,
0:18 we just want a list of strings that are their names.
0:22 So paying_usernames is going to be the set of users
0:25 who have purchased something today.
0:28 Now, this code works fine,
0:31 and this is how you do this in many languages,
0:33 we create lists, we loop over all the items, within out loop we do a test,
0:37 and if you pass the test, did you purchase today, yeah, ok, cool,
0:40 then we are going to take your name, we are going to stick in this list,
0:42 there is a couple of drawbacks,
0:45 one is this is basically impossible to condense down
0:48 to something you can pass as an argument or simply assign a variable to,
0:52 the other one is it's just kind of verbose and you have to say all the steps,
0:57 telling the runtime, the implementation exactly what to do.
1:01 We can use something called a list comprehension to simplify this
1:04 and condense it down to what is equivalent to a single line of Python,
1:08 so then we can more easily assign it to variables,
1:12 pass it to functions, things like that.
1:14 So we can write the exact same code like this,
1:17 we can say paying_username= [ ] just like we are going to define a list,
1:21 what goes in there is not static data, in fact we put this expression it has three parts,
1:25 the first part is the projection, remember,
1:27 we are given a set of users and we want just the names,
1:30 we kind of got to think ahead a little bit,
1:32 this is a little bit annoying about it but you have to imagine
1:35 well if I am going to name the customers what variable will I use
1:38 to name each and everyone of them as if this were a loop,
1:41 we could say if that was going to be you then I would like to name,
1:44 so goes into projection.
1:46 Then you write the source, and it always goes like for something in some set,
1:51 so here we have for u in get_active_customers().
1:54 And then finally the test or filter, so we say if and then we just put our test here
1:58 our test was if the last purchase was today,
2:01 so we say if you.last_purchase==today, done.
2:05 And the way I've written it it's not that much shorter on the screen
2:10 but because it's a single expression you can do things like
2:14 pass it the functions as single arguments,
2:17 or sort of combine them and just have a lot more flexibility.
2:19 You also see as we move onto the next evolution of this concept,
2:24 the generator expressions, then you actually get even more benefit,
2:28 there is actually performance benefits or consequences depending how you use it.