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sanely sortable Python data structures

Project description


Not to be confused with sortable, which is a Grappelli admin UI sorter for Django.

Note: I have not yet sorted out (hee hee) the compatible Python versions, but this does use type hints, so it will end up being at least 3.5+. There are also some places in the code that depend on the new specification of retained order in dicts, being a Python 3.7+ specific feature. I have not yet decided whether to fix this for 3.5, 3.6 compatibility.

This initial (very alpha) state of the project was developed in Python 3.7.2.

Sanely sortable Python data structures

Sort Python data structures without awkward itemgetter, attrgettr, or lambda syntax.

Python's sorting syntax is not always expressive or easy to remember. Why do this:

sorted(d, key=operator.itemgetter(1))

when you could do this?


Or how about sorting a named tuple. Instead of this:

sorted(t, key=operator.attrgetter('myproperty'))

we can do this:


... and more.

Sort a series of tuples by an internal index.

>>> t = ( ('apples', 3), ('oranges', 1), ('bananas', 2) )
>>> st = Sortable(t)
>>> st.sorted()
[('apples', 3), ('bananas', 2), ('oranges', 1)]
>>> st.sorted(key=1)
[('oranges', 1), ('bananas', 2), ('apples', 3)]
>>> st.sorted(key=1, reverse=True)
[('apples', 3), ('bananas', 2), ('oranges', 1)]

Sort a dict by value.

>>> sd = Sortable(dict(t))
>>> sd.sorted()
{'apples': 3, 'bananas': 2, 'oranges': 1}
>>> sd.sorted(by_value=True)
{'oranges': 1, 'bananas': 2, 'apples': 3}
>>> sd.sorted(by_value=True, reverse=True)
{'apples': 3, 'bananas': 2, 'oranges': 1}

Sort a series of named tuples by internal named property.

>>> from collections import namedtuple
>>> Fruit = namedtuple('Fruit', ['name', 'number'])
>>> sl = Sortable([ Fruit(name='apples', number=3), Fruit(name='bananas', number=2), Fruit(name='oranges', number=1) ])
>>> sl.sorted()
[Fruit(name='apples', number=3), Fruit(name='bananas', number=2), Fruit(name='oranges', number=1)]
>>> sl.sorted(key='number')
[Fruit(name='oranges', number=1), Fruit(name='bananas', number=2), Fruit(name='apples', number=3)]
>>> sl.sorted(key='number', reverse=True)
[Fruit(name='apples', number=3), Fruit(name='bananas', number=2), Fruit(name='oranges', number=1)]

Sort by method call.

>>> class Fruit(object):
...     def __init__(self, name, number):
... = name
...         self.number = number
...     def get_name(self):
...         return
...     def get_number(self):
...         return self.number
...     def __repr__(self):
...         return '%s:%s' % (, self.number)
>>> s = Sortable(set([Fruit('apples', 3), Fruit('bananas', 2), Fruit('oranges', 1)]))
>>> s.sorted(method='get_name')
[apples:3, bananas:2, oranges:1]
>>> s.sorted(method='get_number')
[oranges:1, bananas:2, apples:3]
>>> s.sorted(method='get_name', reverse=True)
[oranges:1, bananas:2, apples:3]

Goals & philsophy

  • create an intuitive and readable sorting syntax
  • be as unabtrusive as possible
  • don't break existing sort approaches
  • don't try to be all things to all sorting needs

Toward these ideals, sortables:

  • replaces awkward operator and lambda syntax with a simple readable syntax
  • uses a single Sortable factory for all series data structures and dicts
  • mimics (and internally utilizes) Python's sorted builtin, but does not replace it
  • focuses on the most common use cases. Fall back to the builtin sorted as needed.

sorted returns a Sortable

A Sortable's sorted method, as well as a Sortable dict's items method return a Sortable series. As with the sorted builtin, the series type is generally a list.

Regarding efficiency

In general, you can expect this to work as well as the sorted builtin since that is what it uses internally.

Sortable sorted methods always return a copy of the data. This also goes for the Sortable dict items method, which differs from the view-based dict_items of a regular dictionary.

I have used operator getters rather than lambda based key interpretations mainly because this was slightly faster for me in the few timeit tests that I ran to make the decision.

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