Python - Dictionary

Neha Kumawat

2 days ago

Python Dictionary | insideAIML
Python Dictionary | insideAIML
Table of Contents
  • Introduction
  • Accessing Values in Dictionary
  • Updating Dictionary
  • Delete Dictionary Elements
  • Properties of Dictionary Keys

Introduction

           In Dictionary 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 obtaining 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['Alice']:
Traceback (most recent call last):
   File "test.py", line 4, in 
      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 
      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, the 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 
      dict = {['Name']: 'Zara', 'Age': 7};
TypeError: list objects are unhashable
   
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