Python Dictionary


Advertisements


Each key is separated from its value by a colon (:), the items are separated by commas, and the whole thing is enclosed in curly braces. An empty dictionary without any items is written with just two curly braces, like this: {}.

Keys are unique within a dictionary while values may not be. The values of a dictionary can be of any type, but the keys must be of an immutable data type such as strings, numbers, or tuples.

Accessing Values in Dictionary:

To access dictionary elements, you can use the familiar square brackets along with the key to obtain its value. Following is a simple example −

#!/usr/bin/python

dict = {'Name': 'Zara', 'Age': 7, 'Class': 'First'};

print "dict['Name']: ", dict['Name'];
print "dict['Age']: ", dict['Age'];

When the above code is executed, it produces the following result −

dict['Name']:  Zara
dict['Age']:  7

If we attempt to access a data item with a key, which is not part of the dictionary, we get an error as follows −

#!/usr/bin/python

dict = {'Name': 'Zara', 'Age': 7, 'Class': 'First'};

print "dict['Alice']: ", dict['Alice'];

When the above code is executed, it produces the following result −

dict['Zara']:
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "test.py", line 4, in <module>
    print "dict['Alice']: ", dict['Alice'];
KeyError: 'Alice'

Updating Dictionary

You can update a dictionary by adding a new entry or a key-value pair, modifying an existing entry, or deleting an existing entry as shown below in the simple example −

#!/usr/bin/python

dict = {'Name': 'Zara', 'Age': 7, 'Class': 'First'};

dict['Age'] = 8; # update existing entry
dict['School'] = "DPS School"; # Add new entry


print "dict['Age']: ", dict['Age'];
print "dict['School']: ", dict['School'];

When the above code is executed, it produces the following result −

dict['Age']:  8
dict['School']:  DPS School

Delete Dictionary Elements

You can either remove individual dictionary elements or clear the entire contents of a dictionary. You can also delete entire dictionary in a single operation.

To explicitly remove an entire dictionary, just use the del statement. Following is a simple example −

#!/usr/bin/python

dict = {'Name': 'Zara', 'Age': 7, 'Class': 'First'};

del dict['Name']; # remove entry with key 'Name'
dict.clear();     # remove all entries in dict
del dict ;        # delete entire dictionary

print "dict['Age']: ", dict['Age'];
print "dict['School']: ", dict['School'];

This produces the following result. Note that an exception is raised because after del dict dictionary does not exist any more −

dict['Age']:
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "test.py", line 8, in <module>
    print "dict['Age']: ", dict['Age'];
TypeError: 'type' object is unsubscriptable

Note: del() method is discussed in subsequent section.

Properties of Dictionary Keys

Dictionary values have no restrictions. They can be any arbitrary Python object, either standard objects or user-defined objects. However, same is not true for the keys.

There are two important points to remember about dictionary keys −

(a) More than one entry per key not allowed. Which means no duplicate key is allowed. When duplicate keys encountered during assignment, the last assignment wins. For example −

#!/usr/bin/python

dict = {'Name': 'Zara', 'Age': 7, 'Name': 'Manni'};

print "dict['Name']: ", dict['Name'];

When the above code is executed, it produces the following result −

dict['Name']:  Manni

(b) Keys must be immutable. Which means you can use strings, numbers or tuples as dictionary keys but something like ['key'] is not allowed. Following is a simple example:

#!/usr/bin/python

dict = {['Name']: 'Zara', 'Age': 7};

print "dict['Name']: ", dict['Name'];

When the above code is executed, it produces the following result −

Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "test.py", line 3, in <module>
    dict = {['Name']: 'Zara', 'Age': 7};
TypeError: list objects are unhashable

Built-in Dictionary Functions & Methods −

Python includes the following dictionary functions −

SNFunction with Description
1

cmp(dict1, dict2)

Compares elements of both dict.

2

len(dict)

Gives the total length of the dictionary. This would be equal to the number of items in the dictionary.

3

str(dict)

Produces a printable string representation of a dictionary

4

type(variable)

Returns the type of the passed variable. If passed variable is dictionary, then it would return a dictionary type.

Python includes following dictionary methods −

SNMethods with Description
1

dict.clear()

Removes all elements of dictionary dict

2

dict.copy()

Returns a shallow copy of dictionary dict

3

dict.fromkeys()

Create a new dictionary with keys from seq and values set to value.

4

dict.get(key, default=None)

For key key, returns value or default if key not in dictionary

5

dict.has_key(key)

Returns true if key in dictionary dict, false otherwise

6

dict.items()

Returns a list of dict's (key, value) tuple pairs

7

dict.keys()

Returns list of dictionary dict's keys

8

dict.setdefault(key, default=None)

Similar to get(), but will set dict[key]=default if key is not already in dict

9

dict.update(dict2)

Adds dictionary dict2's key-values pairs to dict

10

dict.values()

Returns list of dictionary dict's values



Advertisements