Learn Python Data Containers in 3 Minutes: List/Set/Tuple

The List and its “brothers”: Tuple and Set

Fig 1. Summary for List/Tuple/Set
  • List, Tuple and Set are all iterable.
  • All of them can hold other types of data in Python

How to decide which one should be used among List/Tuple/Set?

  • In most scenarios, the List would be the very first choice

The List is the most flexible container. The data in the list would be changeable and indexed, and the data in the list could be processed for other containers (e.g., tuple, set, dictionary).

[Notes for Manipulating List]list_eg.append(new_element) 
# add a new_element in the end of list_eg
list_eg = list_eg1 + list_eg2
# combine two lists and save the result as the list_eg
list_eg = list_eg1.extend(list_eg2)
# merge list_eg1 with list_eg2 and save the result as the list_eg
indexof_element1 = list_eg.index(element1)
# get the index of the element1
element1 = list_eg.pop(indexof_element1)
# remove the element1 from the list_eg and save it
element1 = list_eg[indexof_element1]
# return the element1 in list_eg by its index
sorted_list_eg = sorted(list_eg)
# sort all data in the list_eg in numerical or alphabetical and save it as a new list

The List container is inefficient when it runs in Python, and we should not consider it the panacea.

  • When we need to keep some data immutable, the Tuple should be applied

The data stored in a tuple can not be altered, and the running time of the tuple is lower than that of the list. In addition, the data can be stored in pairs in a tuple.

[Notes for Manipulating Tuple]tuple_eg = zip(list_eg1, list_eg2) 
# create tuple_eg with pairing data
element_1, element_2 = tuple_eg[indexof_element_eg]
# unpack the element_eg from tuple_eg
for index, element in enumerate(list_eg):
print(index, element)

# Create the tuple by the enumerate() method. This loop returns the position(index format) and the element in that position while looping
  • When we need to check the data with set theory, the Set should be applied
[Notes for Manipulating Set]set_eg = set(list_eg)
# create set_eg by set() method
# add a single element into set_eg
# merge set_eg1 with set_eg2
# remove the element1 from set_eg
# randomly remove one element from set_eg

# "set theory" operation


[1] Data Types for Data Science in Python. DataCamp. (n.d.). Retrieved January 3, 2022, from https://app.datacamp.com/learn/courses/data-types-for-data-science-in-python




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Haozhou Zhou

Haozhou Zhou

Data Science Enthusiast | To be a bonafide Guitarist

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