Jethro's Braindump


Python is an interpreted, general-purpose, high-level programming language. Some properties of Python include:

  • whitespaces being significant
  • dynamically-typed
  • garbage-collected

Python Books

TODO Fluent Python

TODO Effective Python

TODO High Performance Python

Setting up Python Environment

If not using Nix/NixOS, versioning Python is (in my opinion best) handled with pyenv. Some further packages may need to be installed to build a full Python distribution:

sudo apt install build-essential zlib1g-dev libncurses5-dev libgdbm-dev libnss3-dev libssl-dev libreadline-dev libffi-dev libsqlite3-dev libbz2-dev

Package management is traditionally accomplished via pip, but poetry is getting more popular.

Python Default Values

Python executes some very interesting behaviour with regards to default values:

def a(v=[]):


Why does this happen? Default parameter values are always evaluated when, and only when, the “def” statement they belong to is executed. Also note that “def” is an executable statement in Python, and that default arguments are evaluated in the “def” statement’s environment. If you execute “def” multiple times, it’ll create a new function object (with freshly calculated default values) each time.

Python Data Structures


Heaps are provided by the heapq library in python.

import heapq

a = [1,2,3,4,5,6]
# Heapq defaults to min heap
heapq.heapify(a) # makes a into a min heap object

heapq._heapify_max(a) # Makes a into max heap

Priority Queue


The queue module provides FIFO, LIFO and Priority Queues. Among them, queue.PriorityQueue is perhaps the most commonly used in interview questions.

class queue.PriorityQueue(maxsize=0)

import queue
pq = queue.PriorityQueue()

pq.put((10, 'ten'))
pq.put((1, 'one'))
pq.put((5, 'five'))

x = []
while not pq.empty():


Some important string operators and functions are:

  • s[3]
  • len(s)
  • s + t
  • s[2:4]
  • s in t
  • s.strip()
  • s.startswith(prefix)
  • s.endswith(prefix)
  • s.split(',')
  • 3 * ‘01’
  • ‘,'.join([“A”,“B”,“C”])
  • s.tolower()

Strings are immutable, so operations create new array of characters that are then assigned back to s.


Tilde Operator

The tilde operator ~ is the bit-wise complement operator, and it essentially calculates the -x-1. This comes in useful in arrays, where \(s[~x] = s[-x-1]\). An example usage would be the \(O(n)\) time palindrome function:

def is_palindrome(s):
    return all(s[i] == s[~i] for i in range(len(s) // 2))

For loop else clause

for loop has else clause, that runs when the for loop successfully completes without break.

String translation tables

str.maketrans creates a translation table that makes string substitution quick.

Checking if character unique in string

s.index(x) == s.rindex(x) to check if character is only one in the string

Reference Python Applications

Style Guides

Optimizing Python

Profiling Python

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