Discussion:
What's List Comprehension and Why is it Harmful?
(too old to reply)
Xah Lee
2010-10-18 09:11:07 UTC
Permalink
here's a article about list comprehension.

• 〈What's List Comprehension and Why is it Harmful?〉
http://xahlee.org/comp/list_comprehension.html

i wrote it from a recent debate.

I hope those of you computer scientists and language designers think
about this and avoid list comprehension in your language.

plain text version follows.

--------------------------------------------------
What's List Comprehension and Why is it Harmful?

Xah Lee, 2010-10-14

This page explains what is List Comprehension (LC), with examples from
several languages, with my opinion on why the jargon and concept of
“list comprehension” are unnecessary, redundant, and harmful to
functional programing.
What is List Comprehension?

Here's a example of LC in python:

S = [2*n for n in range(0,9) if ( (n % 2) == 0)]
print S
# prints [0, 4, 8, 12, 16]

It generates a list from 0 to 9, then remove the odd numbers by 「( (n
% 2) == 0), then multiply each element by 2 in 「2*n」, then returns a
list.

Python's LC syntax has this form:

[myExpression for myVar in myList if myPredicateExpression]

In summary, it is a special syntax for generating a list, and allows
programers to also filter and apply a function to the list, but all
done using expressions.

In functional notation, list comprehension is doing this:

map( f, filter(list, predicate))

Other languages's LC are similiar. Here are some examples from
Wikipedia. In the following, the filter used is 「x^2 > 3」, and the
「2*x」 is applied to the result.
javascript

Number.prototype.__iterator__ = function() { for (let i = 0; i < this;
i++) yield i}
var s = [2*i for (i in 100) if (i*i > 3)]

Haskell

s = [ 2*x | x <- [0..], x^2 > 3 ]

F#

seq { for x in 0..100 do if x*x > 3 then yield 2*x } ;;

OCaml

[? 2 * x | x <- 0 -- max_int ; x * x > 3 ?];;

Clojure

(take 20 (for [x (iterate inc 0) :when (> (* x x) 3)] (* 2 x)))

Common Lisp

(loop for x from 1 to 20 when (> (* x x) 3) collect (* 2 x))

Erlang

S = [2*X || X <- lists:seq(0,100), X*X > 3].

Scala

val s = for (x <- Stream.from(0); if x*x > 3) yield 2*x

Here's how Wikipedia explains List comprehension. Quote:

A list comprehension is a syntactic construct available in some
programming languages for creating a list based on existing lists.

The following features makes up LC:

* (1) A flat list generator, with the ability to do filtering and
applying a function.
* (2) Usually, a special syntax in the language.
* (3) The syntax uses expressions, as opposed to using functions
as parameters.

Why is List Comprehension Harmful?

• List Comprehension is a bad jargon; thus harmful to functional
programing or programing in general. It hampers communication, and
encourage mis-understanding.

• List Comprehension is a redundant concept in programing. What List
Comprehension does is simply 「map(func, filter(list, predicate))」.

• The special syntax of List Comprehension as it exists in many langs,
are not necessary. If a special purpose function for it is preferred,
then it can simply be a plain function, e.g 「LC(function, list,
predicate)」.
Map + Filter = List Comprehension Semantics

The LC's semantics is not necessary. A better way and more in sync
with functional lang spirit, is simply to combine plain functions:

map( f, filter(list, predicate))

Here's the python syntax:

map(lambda x: 2*x , filter( lambda x:x%2==0, range(9) ) )
# result is [0, 4, 8, 12, 16]

In Mathematica, this can be written as:

Map[ #*2 &, Select[***@9, EvenQ]]

In Mathematica, a arithemetic operation can be applied to list
directely without using Map explicitly, so the above can be written
as:

Select[***@9, EvenQ] * 2

in my coding style, i usually write it in the following syntactically
equivalent forms:

(#*2 &) @ (Select[#, EvenQ]&) @ Range @ 9

or

9 // Range // (Select[#, EvenQ]&) // (#*2 &)

In the above, we sequence functions together, as in unix pipe. We
start with 20, then apply “Range” to it to get a list from 1 to 9,
then apply a function that filters out all numbers not greater than 3,
then we apply a function to multiply each number by 2. The “//” sign
is a postfix notation, analogous to bash's “|”, and “@” is a prefix
notation that's the reverse of “|”.

(See: Short Intro of Mathematica For Lisp Programers.)
List Comprehension Function Without Special Syntax

Suppose we want some “list comprehension” feature in a functional
lang. Normally, by default this can be done by

map(func, filter(inputList, Predicate))

but perhaps this usage is so frequent that we want to create a new
function for it, to make it more convenient, and perhaps easier to
make the compiler to optimize more. e.g.

LC(func, inputList, Predicate)

this is about whether a lang should create a new convenient function
that otherwise require 3 function combinations. Common Lisp vs Scheme
Lisp are the typical example of extreme opposites.

Note, there's no new syntax involved.

Suppose, someone argues that

For instance, this is far more convenient:

[x+1 for x in [1,2,3,4,5] if x%2==0]

than this:

map(lambda x:x+1,filter(lambda x:x%2==0,[1,2,3,4,5]))

How about this:

LC(func, inputList, P)

compared to

[func for myVar in inputList if P]

the functional form is:

* Shorter
* Not another idiosyncratic new syntax

Issues and Decisions on Creating a New Function

Suppose we decided that generating list by a filter is so frequently
used that it worth it to create a new func for it.

LC(func, inputList, Predicate)

Now, in functional langs, in general a design principle is that you
want to reduce the number of function unless you really need it.
Because, any combination of list related functions could potentially
be a new function in your lang. So, if we really think LC is useful,
we might want to generalize it. e.g. in

LC(func, inputList, Predicate)

is it worthwhile say to add a 4th param, that says return just the
first n? (here we presume the lang doesn't support list of infinite
elements) e.g.

LC(func, inputList, Predicate, n)

what about partition the list to m sublists?

LC(func, inputList, Predicate, n, m)

what about actually more generalized partition, by m sublist then by
m1 sublist then by m2 sublist?

LC(func, inputList, Predicate, n, list(m,m1,m2,...))

what about sorting? maybe that's always used together when you need a
list?

LC(func, inputList, Predicate, n, list(m,m1,m2,...), sortPredcate)

what if actually frequently we want LC to map parallel to branches?
e.g.

LC(func, inputList, Predicate, n, list(m,m1,m2,...), sortPredcate,
mapBranch:True)

what if ...

you see, each of these or combination of these can be done by default
in the lang by sequencing one or more functions (i.e. composition).
But when we create a new function, we really should think a lot about
its justification, because otherwise the lang becomes a bag of
functions that are non-essential, confusing.

So the question is, is generating a list really that much needed? And,
if so, why should we create a special syntax such as 「[ expr for var
in list if P]」 than 「 LC(func, list, P)」?

Also note, that LC is not capable of generating arbitrary nested list.
For a example of a much powerful list generator that can generate
arbitrary nested tree, see:

* http://reference.wolfram.com/mathematica/ref/Table.html
* Tree Functions: Table

For those who find imperative lang good, then perhaps “list
comprehension” is good, because it adds another idiosyncratic syntax
to the lang, but such is with the tradition of imperative langs. The
ad hoc syntax aids in reading code by various syntactical forms and
hint words such as “[... for ... in ...]”.
Bad Jargon and How To Judge a Jargon

Someone wrote:

The term “list comprehension” is intuitive, it's based on math set
notation.

The jargon “list comprehension” is opaque. It hampers communication
and increases misunderstanding. A better name is simply “list
generator”.

What's your basis in saying that “List Comprehension” is intuitive?
Any statics, survey, research, references?

To put this in context, are you saying that lambda, is also intuitive?
“let” is intuitive? “for” is intuitive? “when” is intuitive? I mean,
give your evaluation of some common computer language terminologies,
and tell us which you think are good and which are bad, so we have
some context to judge your claim.

For example, let us know, in your view, how good are terms: currying,
lisp1 lisp2, tail recursion, closure, subroutine, command, object. Or,
perhaps expound on the comparative merits and meaning on the terms
module vs package vs add-on vs library. I would like to see your view
on this with at least few paragraphs of analysis on each. If you, say,
write a essay that's at least 1k words on this topic, then we all can
make some judgment of your familiarity and understanding in this area.

Also, “being intuitive” is not the only aspect to consider whether a
term is good or bad. For example, emacs's uses the term “frame”. It's
quite intuitive, because frame is a common english word, everyone
understands. You know, door frame, window frame, picture frame, are
all analogous to emacs's “frame” on a computer. However, by some turn
of history, in computer software we call such as “window” now, and by
happenstance the term “window” also has a technical meaning in emacs,
what we call “split window” or “frame” today. So, in emacs, the term
“frame” and “window” is confusing, because emacs's “frame” is what we
call “window”, while emacs's “window” is what we call a frame. So
here, is a example, that even when a term is intuitive, it can still
be bad.

As another example, common understanding by the target group the term
is to be used is also a important aspect. For example, the term
“lambda”, which is a name of greek char, does not convey well what we
use it for. The word's meaning by itself has no connection to the
concept of function. The char happens to be used by a logician as a
shorthand notation in his study of what's called “lambda
calculus” (the “calculus” part is basically 1700's terminology for a
systematic science, especially related to mechanical reasoning).
However, the term “lambda” used in this way in computer science and
programing has been long and wide, around 50 years in recent history
(and more back if we trace origins). So, because of established use,
here it may decrease the level of what we might think of it as a bad
jargon, by the fact that it already become a standard usage or
understanding. Even still, note that just because a term has establish
use, if the term itself is very bad in many other aspects, it may
still warrant a need for change. For one example of a reason, the
argon will be a learning curve problem for all new generations.

You see, when you judge a terminology, you have to consider many
aspects. It is quite involved. When judging a jargon, some question
you might ask are:

• Does the jargon convey its meaning by the word itself? (i.e. whether
the jargon as a word is effective in communication)

• How long has been the jargon in use?

• Do people in the community understand the jargon? (e.g. more
scientifically: what percentage?)

Each of these sample questions can get quite involved. For example, it
calls for expertise in linguistics (many sub-fields are relevant:
pragmatics, history of language, etymology), practical experience in
the field (programing or computer science), educational expertise
(e.g. educators, professors, programing book authors/teachers),
scientific survey, social science of communication...

Also, you may not know, there are bodies of professional scientists
who work on terminologies for publication. It is not something like “O
think it's good, becus it is intuitive to me.”.

Xah ∑ http://xahlee.org/ ☄
Marc Mientki
2010-10-18 09:34:10 UTC
Permalink
One question: why contain your pages always this junk? (red marked):
Loading Image...

regards
Marc
Xah Lee
2010-10-18 09:59:42 UTC
Permalink
   http://img256.imageshack.us/img256/7618/xahleehtmljunk.jpg
regards
Marc
ug. what browser + OS are you using?

those are unicode 「」
LEFT CORNER BRACKET x300c
RIGHT CORNER BRACKET x300d

you might be missing font

• 〈Best Fonts for Unicode〉
http://xahlee.org/emacs/emacs_unicode_fonts.html

or you might need to tweak your browser's encoding/decoding and font.
you can see the same article at these locations,

http://groups.google.com/group/comp.lang.lisp/browse_frm/thread/d1a7f83dd4ee736b#
http://xahlee.blogspot.com/2010/10/whats-list-comprehension-and-why-is-it.html
http://xahlee.org/comp/list_comprehension.html

possibly your browser will display correctly in one but not other...
these days it's complicated to trace the cause.

thanks for your screenshot. That's good to know. Please let me know
your browser, version, and OS.

Xah ∑ http://xahlee.org/ ☄
Marc Mientki
2010-10-18 10:03:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Xah Lee
Post by Marc Mientki
http://img256.imageshack.us/img256/7618/xahleehtmljunk.jpg
regards
Marc
ug. what browser + OS are you using?
Firefox 3.6.10 on windows XP + SP3.
Post by Xah Lee
those are unicode 「」
LEFT CORNER BRACKET x300c
RIGHT CORNER BRACKET x300d
Is there need for unicode for such trivial things like {[]}?

regards
Marc
Xah Lee
2010-10-18 10:29:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marc Mientki
Post by Xah Lee
   http://img256.imageshack.us/img256/7618/xahleehtmljunk.jpg
regards
Marc
ug. what browser + OS are you using?
Firefox 3.6.10 on windows XP + SP3.
Post by Xah Lee
those are unicode 「」
LEFT CORNER BRACKET x300c
RIGHT CORNER BRACKET x300d
Is there need for unicode for such trivial things like {[]}?
short story is no but am a unicode geek :)

long story is... i need a way to quote code... the corner bracket was
choosen because it's standard chinese punctuation thus almost all
computer today bought in the past 5 years can display it, and because
it's different than ascii so it avoids ambiguity and complications.
e.g. when the quoted text also contains the char that you use for
quoting....

thanks for your info. I'll think about removing them...

the other thing is that those markers are very useful when you think
about info processing and automation. e.g. in the future i can
trivially write a script list all inline code i have on my site, or to
htmlize/css all quoted code. e.g.

• 〈Unix Shell Text Processing Tutorial (grep, cat, awk, sort, uniq)〉
http://xahlee.org/UnixResource_dir/unix_shell_text_processing.html

in that page, does the char show up correctly? The chars are not in
the html text, but is added by CSS due to markup. And the code are all
colored red.

PS: the most popular example of studious use of quoting in a tech doc
is emacs manual or any manual from FSF. e.g.

• 〈Constant-Variables〉
http://xahlee.org/elisp/Constant-Variables.html

but however, they use ascii hack of the 1970s, e.g. like `this' and
``this''.

Xah ∑ http://xahlee.org/ ☄
Marek Kubica
2010-10-26 16:32:56 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 18 Oct 2010 03:29:12 -0700 (PDT)
Post by Xah Lee
long story is... i need a way to quote code... the corner bracket was
choosen because it's standard chinese punctuation thus almost all
computer today bought in the past 5 years can display it, and because
it's different than ascii so it avoids ambiguity and complications.
e.g. when the quoted text also contains the char that you use for
quoting....
Most people just use typewriter-fixed-width fonts for that...

regards,
Marek
Nobody
2010-10-18 14:14:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marc Mientki
Post by Xah Lee
ug. what browser + OS are you using?
Firefox 3.6.10 on windows XP + SP3.
FWIW, I'm using FF 3.6.4 on XP+SP3, and I have no problems with that page.

You should check your font settings.
Nobody
2010-10-18 14:32:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Xah Lee
• List Comprehension is a redundant concept in programing. What List
Comprehension does is simply 「map(func, filter(list, predicate))」.
You're assuming a single generator. Once you have multiple generators,
map + filter + concat starts getting ugly rather quick.

FWIW, I this:

[(x,y) | x <- [1..5], y <- [1..x]]

clearer than either this:

concat (map (\x -> map ((,) x) [1..x]) [1..5])

or this:

concat (map (\x -> map (\y -> (,) x y) [1..x]) [1..5])
Peter Keller
2010-10-18 17:00:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Xah Lee
here's a article about list comprehension.
? ?What's List Comprehension and Why is it Harmful??
http://xahlee.org/comp/list_comprehension.html
i wrote it from a recent debate.
I hope those of you computer scientists and language designers think
about this and avoid list comprehension in your language.
I agree with Xah, but I don't think he goes far enough. :) I think
list comprehensions in most languages are too "first order" and
constrain thinking into a little box.

Let's see if I can trudge ahead...

The base list comprehension in CL:
(map func (filter predicate list))

This is where a language with specialized list comprehensions usually
stops. But we can go on.

A slightly better higher order abstraction of it, corresponding to
Xah's LC function:
(action func predicate list)

How about we make it easier?
(defaction action1 (func1 predicate1))
(defaction action3 (func2 predicate2))
(defaction action4 (func3 predicate3))
(defaction action5 (func4 predicate4))

And now make our action function a little smarter:
(action action1 list)

Now, lets make it so we can compose a bunch of actions at once, in
order. Each later actions may process the results form a possible
application an earlier action in the sequence. The composition of the
actions can work to reduce the answer to have less elements that the
original list due to the filtering.

(compose-actions list
action3
action4
action1
...
)

The above would return two values, the first is the list of
result (what you expect from the composition of the actions). Exploded
example of how the first list is produced:
(...
(map func1
(filter predicate1
(map func4
(filter predicate4
(map func3
(filter predicate3 list)))))))

The second value is a list which will be the same size as the original
input list. What it does is provide a record of what happened to each
element in the list as the composition was being applied. Some careful
bookeeping must be done to keep track of the original positions of
the elements as they evolve through smaller and smaller result lists.

(
;; actions chosen for element 0 going backwards in time steps
(0 element[0] action1
(-1 element[0] action4
(-2 element[0] action3
...)))

;; actions chosen for element 1 going backwards in time steps
(0 element[1] action1
(-1 element[1] action4
(-2 element[1] action3
...)))

;; actions chosen for element 2 going backwards in time
;; Suppose this got wiped out by action 4 and action1 never saw it.
;; We don't have an entry for time step 0 and just keep carrying this
;; record along with us as is as we continue processing the composition.
(-1 element[2] (action4 'failed)
(-2 element[2] action3
...)))

;; actions chosen for element 1 going backwards in time steps
;; Notice it slid from index 3 to 2 because element 2 got removed in the
;; previous step, but we still recorded where its original place was.
(0 element[2] action1
(-1 element[3] action4
(-2 element[3] action3
...)))


...)

Using the above, we can likely analyze why certain decisions to act
might have failed on a per-element basis. Suppose like this:

(why-failed expert-rules (compose-actions list action3 action4 action1 ...))

Since this is all higher order codes, the implementation of any of
these functions can choose a parallel or multi machine implementation.
This isn't really available to you (to my 5 minutes of thinking
about it) in languages with list comprehension since the syntax and
implementation is hidden from you.

Later,
-pete
Xah Lee
2010-10-19 00:39:21 UTC
Permalink
hi Peter,

thanks for the thoughts.

It seems to me your action is simply composition, which is available
in many functional langs.

you added a sorta trace functionality to composition. In Mathematica,
any lisp function (say named xyz), usually have a xyzList version,
which returns all the steps as a list. This is somewhat similar to
your trace. Some functional lang has this too i think. But in general,
i don't see the utility of your trace action kinda thing. It seems
like a domain specific lang's need.

Xah ∑ http://xahlee.org/ ☄
Post by Peter Keller
Post by Xah Lee
here's a article about list comprehension.
? ?What's List Comprehension and Why is it Harmful??
http://xahlee.org/comp/list_comprehension.html
i wrote it from a recent debate.
I hope those of you computer scientists and language designers think
about this and avoid list comprehension in your language.
I agree with Xah, but I don't think he goes far enough. :) I think
list comprehensions in most languages are too "first order" and
constrain thinking into a little box.
Let's see if I can trudge ahead...
(map func (filter predicate list))
This is where a language with specialized list comprehensions usually
stops. But we can go on.
A slightly better higher order abstraction of it, corresponding to
(action func predicate list)
How about we make it easier?
(defaction action1 (func1 predicate1))
(defaction action3 (func2 predicate2))
(defaction action4 (func3 predicate3))
(defaction action5 (func4 predicate4))
(action action1 list)
Now, lets make it so we can compose a bunch of actions at once, in
order. Each later actions may process the results form a possible
application an earlier action in the sequence. The composition of the
actions can work to reduce the answer to have less elements that the
original list due to the filtering.
(compose-actions list
  action3
  action4
  action1
  ...
  )
The above would return two values, the first is the list of
result (what you expect from the composition of the actions). Exploded
(...
  (map func1
       (filter predicate1
               (map func4
                    (filter predicate4
                            (map func3
                                 (filter predicate3 list)))))))
The second value is a list which will be the same size as the original
input list. What it does is provide a record of what happened to each
element in the list as the composition was being applied. Some careful
bookeeping must be done to keep track of the original positions of
the elements as they evolve through smaller and smaller result lists.
(
;; actions chosen for element 0 going backwards in time steps
(0 element[0] action1
  (-1 element[0] action4
    (-2 element[0] action3
      ...)))
;; actions chosen for element 1 going backwards in time steps
(0 element[1] action1
  (-1 element[1] action4
    (-2 element[1] action3
      ...)))
;; actions chosen for element 2 going backwards in time
;; Suppose this got wiped out by action 4 and action1 never saw it.
;; We don't have an entry for time step 0 and just keep carrying this
;; record along with us as is as we continue processing the composition.
(-1 element[2] (action4 'failed)
  (-2 element[2] action3
     ...)))
;; actions chosen for element 1 going backwards in time steps
;; Notice it slid from index 3 to 2 because element 2 got removed in the
;; previous step, but we still recorded where its original place was.
(0 element[2] action1
  (-1 element[3] action4
    (-2 element[3] action3
      ...)))
...)
Using the above, we can likely analyze why certain decisions to act
(why-failed expert-rules (compose-actions list action3 action4 action1 ...))
Since this is all higher order codes, the implementation of any of
these functions can choose a parallel or multi machine implementation.
This isn't really available to you (to my 5 minutes of thinking
about it) in languages with list comprehension since the syntax and
implementation is hidden from you.
Later,
-pete
Peter Keller
2010-10-19 02:50:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Xah Lee
hi Peter,
thanks for the thoughts.
It seems to me your action is simply composition, which is available
in many functional langs.
That's true, but composition and list comprehensions should go hand in hand,
but with a specific syntax, it is uglier.
Post by Xah Lee
you added a sorta trace functionality to composition. In Mathematica,
any lisp function (say named xyz), usually have a xyzList version,
which returns all the steps as a list. This is somewhat similar to
your trace. Some functional lang has this too i think. But in general,
i don't see the utility of your trace action kinda thing. It seems
like a domain specific lang's need.
It is very useful for recording mutations of a tree walker and
extendable to recording mutations of a graph walker. The important
aspect is that if the actions are invertible, you get a piecewise
bijection from the original graph to the resultant one.

Later,
-pete
Xah Lee
2010-10-26 07:23:43 UTC
Permalink
http://www.reddit.com/r/programming/comments/dw8op/whats_list_comprehension_and_why_is_it_harmful/
Post by Xah Lee
What's List Comprehension and Why is it Harmful
the case hits reddit.

http://www.reddit.com/r/programming/comments/dw8op/whats_list_comprehension_and_why_is_it_harmful/

sometimes i do find some reddit replies interesting and knowledgable
(like slashdot), but am afraid 99% of it is uninformed garbage. In
this case, i haven't found a interesting argument. Though, it is
informative that many reddit readers didn't find my article
interesting. A
good feed back that i need to edit or expand it, with more examples,
etc.

Xah
w_a_x_man
2010-10-18 18:50:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Xah Lee
here's a article about list comprehension.
S = [2*n for n in range(0,9) if ( (n % 2) == 0)]
print S
# prints [0, 4, 8, 12, 16]
Ruby:

(0..9).select{|n| n.even?}.map{|n| 2*n}
==>[0, 4, 8, 12, 16]

shorter:

(0..9).select( &:even? ).map{|n| 2*n}
==>[0, 4, 8, 12, 16]
Post by Xah Lee
The jargon "list comprehension" is opaque. It hampers communication
and increases misunderstanding. A better name is simply "list
generator".
+1
Xah Lee
2010-10-19 00:29:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by w_a_x_man
Post by Xah Lee
here's a article about list comprehension.
S = [2*n for n in range(0,9) if ( (n % 2) == 0)]
print S
# prints [0, 4, 8, 12, 16]
(0..9).select{|n| n.even?}.map{|n| 2*n}
    ==>[0, 4, 8, 12, 16]
(0..9).select( &:even? ).map{|n| 2*n}
    ==>[0, 4, 8, 12, 16]
Post by Xah Lee
The jargon "list comprehension" is opaque. It hampers communication
and increases misunderstanding. A better name is simply "list
generator".
+1
thanks a lot wax man. I added your example with credit.

over the past few years, you've posted lots snippets of ruby code, and
i find them quite interesting, and those snippets gave me quite a
positive view of ruby.

btw, is unicode still a problem with ruby? i really need robust
unicode for my use.

also, if you can tell me, what's the main discussion group for ruby?
is it just comp.lang.ruby or is it web based forum?

Xah ∑ http://xahlee.org/ ☄
w_a_x_man
2010-10-19 01:49:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Xah Lee
Post by w_a_x_man
Post by Xah Lee
here's a article about list comprehension.
S = [2*n for n in range(0,9) if ( (n % 2) == 0)]
print S
# prints [0, 4, 8, 12, 16]
(0..9).select{|n| n.even?}.map{|n| 2*n}
    ==>[0, 4, 8, 12, 16]
(0..9).select( &:even? ).map{|n| 2*n}
    ==>[0, 4, 8, 12, 16]
Post by Xah Lee
The jargon "list comprehension" is opaque. It hampers communication
and increases misunderstanding. A better name is simply "list
generator".
+1
thanks a lot wax man. I added your example with credit.
over the past few years, you've posted lots snippets of ruby code, and
i find them quite interesting, and those snippets gave me quite a
positive view of ruby.
btw, is unicode still a problem with ruby? i really need robust
unicode for my use.
Sorry, but I'm clueless about unicode. (It does seem strange that
a language from Japan has not always had great unicode support.)
Post by Xah Lee
also, if you can tell me, what's the main discussion group for ruby?
is it just comp.lang.ruby or is it web based forum?
I believe it's comp.lang.ruby. Posts at www.ruby-forum.com/forum/ruby
are forwarded to the newsgroup.
namekuseijin
2010-10-19 02:14:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by w_a_x_man
Post by Xah Lee
here's a article about list comprehension.
S = [2*n for n in range(0,9) if ( (n % 2) == 0)]
print S
# prints [0, 4, 8, 12, 16]
(0..9).select{|n| n.even?}.map{|n| 2*n}
    ==>[0, 4, 8, 12, 16]
(0..9).select( &:even? ).map{|n| 2*n}
    ==>[0, 4, 8, 12, 16]
idiomatic python:
[2*n for n in range(9) if n%2==0]

custom syntax is always shorter and more convenient in direct style:
that's precisely why they made it into custom syntax in the first
place.

Of course, that's far better in a language that allows user-defined
custom syntax. waxhead only agreed with you because ruby got no
custom list comprehension syntax nor a way to define one: if it was a
builtin he'd gladly use it everywhere instead of actually making an
algorithm actually describing how it works, as he always does...
WJ
2011-05-22 09:30:11 UTC
Permalink
S =3D [2*n for n in range(0,9) if ( (n % 2) =3D=3D 0)]
print S
# prints [0, 4, 8, 12, 16]
It generates a list from 0 to 9, then remove the odd numbers by =E3=80=8C( =
(n
% 2) =3D=3D 0), then multiply each element by 2 in =E3=80=8C2*n=E3=80=8D, t=
hen returns a
list.
Arc:

Jarc> (map [* 2 _] (keep even (range 0 9)))
(0 4 8 12 16)
Xah Lee
2011-05-22 20:18:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by WJ
S =3D [2*n for n in range(0,9) if ( (n % 2) =3D=3D 0)]
print S
# prints [0, 4, 8, 12, 16]
It generates a list from 0 to 9, then remove the odd numbers by =E3=80=8C( =
(n
% 2) =3D=3D 0), then multiply each element by 2 in =E3=80=8C2*n=E3=80=8D, t=
hen returns a
list.
Jarc> (map [* 2 _] (keep even (range 0 9)))
(0 4 8 12 16)
that's not lisp comprehension. that's just map. lol

Xah
WJ
2011-05-23 01:43:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Xah Lee
Post by WJ
S =3D [2*n for n in range(0,9) if ( (n % 2) =3D=3D 0)]
print S
# prints [0, 4, 8, 12, 16]
It generates a list from 0 to 9, then remove the odd numbers by
=E3=80=8C( = (n
% 2) =3D=3D 0), then multiply each element by 2 in
=E3=80=8C2*n=E3=80=8D, t= hen returns a
list.
Jarc> (map [* 2 _] (keep even (range 0 9)))
(0 4 8 12 16)
that's not lisp comprehension. that's just map. lol
Xah
map is *better* than list comprehension!
Xah Lee
2011-05-23 02:01:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by WJ
Post by Xah Lee
Post by WJ
Jarc> (map [* 2 _] (keep even (range 0 9)))
(0 4 8 12 16)
that's not lisp comprehension. that's just map. lol
 Xah
map is *better* than list comprehension!
yeah, but thats my point in the original article.

Xah

Continue reading on narkive:
Loading...