linked-list in python@@ #no std #Ashish

A quick google search shows

* python doesn’t offer linked list in standard library

* python’s workhorse list like [2,1,5] is a expendable array, i.e. vector. See and

* {5, 1, 0} braces can initialize a set. I very seldom use a set since a dict is almost always good-enough.


python to dump binary data in hex digits

Note hex() is a built-in, but I find it inconvenient. I need to print in two-digits with leading 0.

Full source is hosted in

def Hex(data): # a generator function
  for code in map(ord,data):
    yield "%02x " % code
    i += 1
    if i%8==0: yield ' '

print ''.join(Hex("\x0a\x00")); exit(0)

edit 1 file in big python^c++ production system #XR

Q1: suppose you work in a big, complex system with 1000 source files, all in python, and you know a change to a single file will only affect one module, not a core module. You have tested it + ran a 60-minute automated unit test suit. You didn’t run a prolonged integration test that’s part of the department-level full release. Would you and approving managers have the confidence to release this single python file?
A: yes

Q2: change “python” to c++ (or java or c#). You already followed the routine to build your change into a dynamic library, tested it thoroughly and ran unit test suite but not full integration test. Do you feel safe to release this library?
A: no.

Assumption: the automated tests were reasonably well written. I never worked in a team with a measured test coverage. I would guess 50% is too high and often impractical. Even with high measured test coverage, the risk of bug is roughly the same. I never believe higher unit test coverage is a vaccination. Diminishing return. Low marginal benefit.

Why the difference between Q1 and Q2?

One reason — the source file is compiled into a library (or a jar), along with many other source files. This library is now a big component of the system, rather than one of 1000 python files. The managers will see a library change in c++ (or java) vs a single-file change in python.

Q3: what if the change is to a single shell script, used for start/stop the system?
A: yes. Manager can see the impact is small and isolated. The unit of release is clearly a single file, not a library.

Q4: what if the change is to a stored proc? You have tested it and run full unit test suit but not a full integration test. Will you release this single stored proc?
A: yes. One reason is transparency of the change. Managers can understand this is an isolated change, rather than a library change as in the c++ case.

How do managers (and anyone except yourself) actually visualize the amount of code change?

  • With python, it’s a single file so they can use “diff”.
  • With stored proc, it’s a single proc. In the source control, they can diff this single proc. Unit of release is traditionally a single proc.
  • with c++ or java, the unit of release is a library. What if in this new build, beside your change there’s some other change , included by accident? You can’t diff a binary 😦

So I feel transparency is the first reason. Transparency of the change gives everyone (not just yourself) confidence about the size/scope of this change.

Second reason is isolation. I feel a compiled language (esp. c++) is more “fragile” and the binary modules more “coupled” and inter-dependent. When you change one source file and release it in a new library build, it could lead to subtle, intermittent concurrency issues or memory leaks in another module, outside your library. Even if you as the author sees evidence that this won’t happen, other people have seen innocent one-line changes giving rise to bugs, so they have reason to worry.

  • All 1000 files (in compiled form) runs in one process for a c++ or java system.
  • A stored proc change could affect DB performance, but it’s easy to verify. A stored proc won’t introduce subtle problems in an unrelated module.
  • A top-level python script runs in its own process. A python module runs in the host process of the top-level script, but a typical top-level script will include just a few custom modules, not 1000 modules. Much better isolation at run time.

There might be python systems where the main script actually runs in a process with hundreds of custom modules (not counting the standard library modules). I have not seen it.

big guns: template4c++^reflection4(java+python)

Most complex libraries (or systems) in java require reflection to meet the inherent complexity;

Most complex libraries in c++ require template meta-programming.

But these are for different reasons… which I’m not confident to point out.

Most complex python systems require … reflection + import hacks? I feel python’s reflection (as with other scripting languages) is more powerful, less restricted. I feel reflection is at the core of some (most?) of the power features in python – import, polymorphism

TCP listening socket shared by2processes #fork

Common IV question: In what scenarios can a listening socket (in memory) be shared between 2 listening processes?

Background — a socket is a special type of file descriptor (at least in unix). Consider an output file handle. By default, this “channel” isn’t shared between 2 processes. Similarly, when a packet (say a price) is delivered to a given network endpoint, the kernel must decide which process to receive the data, usually not to two processes.

To have two processes both listening on the same listening-socket, one of them is usually a child of the other. The webpage in [1] and my code in show a short python code illustrating this scenario. I tested. q(lsof) and q(ss) commands both (but not netstat) show the 2 processes listening on the same endpoint. OS delivers the data to A B A B… shows an advanced kernel feature to let multiple processes bind() to the same endpoint.

For multicast (UDP only) two processes can listen to the same UDP endpoint. See [3] and [2]

A Unix domain socket can be shared between two unrelated processes.





%%logging decorator with optional args

Latest is Uploaded to github:

I hope the wordpress code formatting renders the source code correctly:

def log3(funcOrMsg=None, named_arg=None):
    '''arg is Optional. You can use any of:
    @log3(named_arg='specific msg') # some prefer named argument for clarity
    @log3('msg2') or
    arg1_isCallable = callable(funcOrMsg)
    arg1_isStr      = isinstance(funcOrMsg, basestring)
    arg1_isNone     = funcOrMsg is None

    def decorated(func):

        def wrapper(*args, **kwargs):
            if named_arg: print 'named_arg = ' + str(named_arg)
            tmp = funcOrMsg if arg1_isStr else ''
   + ' pym ver = ' + str(logger.pymodelsVer),
              extra={'name_override' : func.__name__})
              ### set name_override to func.__name__ in a kwarg to info()
            return func(*args, **kwargs)
        return wrapper
        ## end wrapper

    if arg1_isCallable:
        return decorated(funcOrMsg) # decorator received no-arg
        # decorator had kwargs   or   positional arg
        assert     arg1_isNone   or   arg1_isStr
        return decorated

python RW global var hosted in a module

Context: a module defines a top-level global var VAR1, to be modified by my script. Reading it is relatively easy:

from mod3 import *
print VAR1

Writing is a bit tricky. I’m still looking for best practices.

Solution 1: mod3 to expose a setter setVAR1(value)

Solution 2:
import mod3
mod3.VAR1 = ‘new_value’

Note “from mod3 import * ” doesn’t propagate the new value back to the module. See example below.

#!/usr/bin/python -u
from mod3 import *

def main():
  ''' Line below is required to propagate new value back to mod3
      Also note the semicolon -- to put two statements on one line '''
  import mod3; mod3.VAR1 = 'new value'
VAR1='initial value'
def mod3func():
  print 'VAR1 =', VAR1

## innovative features of python

Here’s my answer to a friend’s question “what innovative features do you see in python”

  • * decorators. Very powerful. Perhaps somewhat similar to AOP. Python probably borrowed it from Haskell?
  • * dynamic method/attribute lookup. Somewhat similar to C# “dynamic” keyword. Dangerous technique similar to java reflection.
  • * richer introspection than c# (which is richer than java)
  • * richer metaprogramming support (including decorator and introspection) … Vague answer!
  • * enhanced for-loop for a file, a string,
  • * listcomp and genexpr
  • * Mixin?
  • I wrote a code gen to enrich existing modules before importing them. I relied on hooks in the importation machinery.