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Python 3.9 Features for Noobs

Kathan Vakharia
DS-Algo Tenderfoot | Computer Scientist | Aspiring Gopher | DataScience Enthusiast | Python & C++ 💕
・Updated on ・3 min read

In this post, I will discuss some of the interesting features added in python 3.9!

The Problem: Merging two dictionaries

Prior to python 3.9, there were mainly two ways to merge or combine two dictionaries in python,

dict1 = {"name": "Salman", "age": "NA"}
dict2 = {"crimes": "lol", "career_destroyed": "uncountable"}

# Way1 : using update method
dict1.update(dict2)
print("dict1 =>", dict1)

# Way2: using ugly ** unpacking
new_dict = {**dict1, **dict2}
print("new_dict=>", new_dict)

"""OUPUT
dict1 => {'name': 'Salman', 'age': 'NA', 
'crimes': 'lol', 'career_destroyed': 'uncountable'}
new_dict=> {'name': 'Salman', 'age': 'NA',
'crimes': 'lol', 'career_destroyed': 'uncountable'}

"""
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But using these methods, have drawbacks.

Why update is not efficient ?

d1.update(d2) modifies d1 in-place i.e changes the content of d1 dictionary.

But the problem is, it is using a temporary variable internally to update d1 dict. This is very inefficient because consider a case when you want to merge two dictionaries containing thousands of key-value pair, It is a brutal waste of memory and CPU!
image

😛 Then why don't we use ** , because it is not readable and ugly!

Solution : Addition of Union Operators

📃 https://www.python.org/dev/peps/pep-0584/

Let's see how python3.9 solved the issue,

Introducing merge operator |

The merge operator , "|" will return a new dict consisting of the left operand merged with the right operand, each of which must be a dict.

This operation has a fancy name : Dict Union

image

update operator |=

This operator performs an inplace merge similar to update method but it doesn't waste memory by using a temporary variable!

Fancy name : Augmented assignment

image

The Problem: How to remove sub-strings from start or end in a str ?

Prior to python3.9, you would do something like this,

# removing prefix or suffix prior to python 3.9
def remove_prefix(inp_str: str, pref: str) -> str:
    """
    This function deletes "pref" from the 
    beginning if it is present otherwise
    returns the original "inp_str"
    """
    if inp_str.startswith(pref):
        return inp_str[len(pref):]
    return inp_str

def remove_suffix(inp_str: str, suff: str) -> str:
    """
    This function deletes "suff" from the 
    end if it is present otherwise
    returns the original "inp_str"
    """
    if inp_str.endswith(suff):
        return inp_str[:-len(suff)]
    return inp_str

"""OUTPUT
>>> remove_suffix("Kathan", "an")
'Kath'
>>> remove_suffix("Kathan", "lol")
'Kathan'
>>> remove_prefix("Kathan","Ka")
'than'
>>> remove_prefix("Kathan","haha")
'Kathan'
"""
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Isn't it too much, that we need to define functions for such a simple task? Ofcourse you can create a one-liner using lambda but what if you want a cleaner solution?

Solution : String methods to remove prefixes and suffixes

📃 https://www.python.org/dev/peps/pep-0616/

To solve this issue, 2 new methods were added.

removeprefix method

This method has implemented the prior discussed functionality of removing prefix for us so that we don't need to define our own function or lambda whatever.

image

removesuffix method

This method has implemented the prior discussed functionality of removing suffix for us so that we don't need to define our own function.

image

🎁 Bonus : Improved Math Module

📃 https://docs.python.org/3/whatsnew/3.9.html#math

math.gcd() function

Prior to python 3.9, this function only accepted two arguments and returned their gcd.

But quite often we need to find gcd of more than two numbers. GOOD NEWS! In python 3.9 you can add as many arguments you want into this function.

Here's the error by the way, you used to get prior to python 3.9
image

Using improved math.gcd function

image

The new math.lcm() function

Prior to python 3.9 there was no specifc function to calculate l.c.m.

Developers though had a quirky workaround for finding l.c.m,
image

But if you ain't a math geek, you will be confused by the function 😓, So there was a need for l.c.m function!

NEW math.lcm() function

image

That's it for this post :) Hope you enjoyed it. Check python 3.9 docs for lots of more fun stuff!

📚 Further Read: https://docs.python.org/3/whatsnew/3.9.html#what-s-new-in-python-3-9

Discussion (3)

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manzato profile image
Guillermo Manzato

Improvised Math module? Probably meant Improved

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freddsr profile image
Frederico D. S. Reckziegel

Yeah, that makes sense.

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kathanvakharia profile image
Kathan Vakharia Author

Yeah my bad😅 Thanks for pointing it out!