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Python string class like StringBuilder in C#?

Posted by: admin November 29, 2017 Leave a comment

Questions:

Is there some string class in Python like StringBuilder in C#?

Answers:

There is no one-to-one correlation. For a really good article please see Efficient String Concatenation in Python:

Building long strings in the Python
progamming language can sometimes
result in very slow running code. In
this article I investigate the
computational performance of various
string concatenation methods.

Questions:
Answers:

I have used the code of Oliver Crow (link given by Andrew Hare) and adapted it a bit to tailor Python 2.7.3. (by using timeit package). I ran on my personal computer, Lenovo T61, 6GB RAM, Debian GNU/Linux 6.0.6 (squeeze).

Here is the result for 10,000 iterations:

method1:  0.0538418292999 secs
process size 4800 kb
method2:  0.22602891922 secs
process size 4960 kb
method3:  0.0605459213257 secs
process size 4980 kb
method4:  0.0544030666351 secs
process size 5536 kb
method5:  0.0551080703735 secs
process size 5272 kb
method6:  0.0542731285095 secs
process size 5512 kb

and for 5,000,000 iterations (method 2 was ignored because it ran tooo slowly, like forever):

method1:  5.88603997231 secs
process size 37976 kb
method3:  8.40748500824 secs
process size 38024 kb
method4:  7.96380496025 secs
process size 321968 kb
method5:  8.03666186333 secs
process size 71720 kb
method6:  6.68192911148 secs
process size 38240 kb

It is quite obvious that Python guys have done pretty great job to optimize string concatenation, and as Hoare said: “premature optimization is the root of all evil” 🙂

Questions:
Answers:

Python has several things that fulfill similar purposes:

  • One common way to build large strings from pieces is to grow a list of strings and join it when you are done. This is a frequently-used Python idiom.
    • To build strings incorporating data with formatting, you would do the formatting separately.
  • For insertion and deletion at a character level, you would keep a list of length-one strings. (To make this from a string, you’d call list(your_string). You could also use a UserString.MutableString for this.
  • (c)StringIO.StringIO is useful for things that would otherwise take a file, but less so for general string building.
Questions:
Answers:

Using method 5 from above (The Pseudo File) we can get very good perf and flexibility

from cStringIO import StringIO

class StringBuilder:
     _file_str = None

     def __init__(self):
         self._file_str = StringIO()

     def Append(self, str):
         self._file_str.write(str)

     def __str__(self):
         return self._file_str.getvalue()

now using it

sb = StringBuilder()

sb.Append("Hello\n")
sb.Append("World")

print sb

Questions:
Answers:

you can try StringIO or cStringIO

Questions:
Answers:

Relying on compiler optimizations is fragile. The benchmarks linked in the accepted answer and numbers given by Antoine-tran are not to be trusted. Andrew Hare makes the mistake of including a call to repr in his methods. That slows all the methods equally but obscures the real penalty in constructing the string.

Use join. It’s very fast and more robust.

$ ipython3
Python 3.5.1 (default, Mar  2 2016, 03:38:02) 
IPython 4.1.2 -- An enhanced Interactive Python.

In [1]: values = [str(num) for num in range(int(1e3))]

In [2]: %%timeit
   ...: ''.join(values)
   ...: 
100000 loops, best of 3: 7.37 µs per loop

In [3]: %%timeit
   ...: result = ''
   ...: for value in values:
   ...:     result += value
   ...: 
10000 loops, best of 3: 82.8 µs per loop

In [4]: import io

In [5]: %%timeit
   ...: writer = io.StringIO()
   ...: for value in values:
   ...:     writer.write(value)
   ...: writer.getvalue()
   ...: 
10000 loops, best of 3: 81.8 µs per loop

Questions:
Answers:

In case you are here looking for a fast string concatenation method in Python, then you do not need a special StringBuilder class. Simple concatenation works just as well without the performance penalty seen in C#.

resultString = ""

resultString += "Append 1"
resultString += "Append 2"

See Antoine-tran’s answer for performance results