Simon Willison’s Weblog

If python dictionaries are inherently orderless, why were they given the name if a real dictionary is sorted by letter?

My answer to If python dictionaries are inherently orderless, why were they given the name if a real dictionary is sorted by letter? on Quora

The metaphor here is that paper dictionaries make it easy to look stuff up by letter or word—just like Python dictionaries make looking something up by key an instant operation.

I don’t know of any other languages that use the word “dictionary” for this—Perl and Ruby call them Hashes, PHP calls them Associative Arrays, JavaScript calls them Objects, Lua calls them Tables. Personally I find the term dictionary more intuitive than those alternatives but I do spend way more of my time with Python.

This is If python dictionaries are inherently orderless, why were they given the name if a real dictionary is sorted by letter? by Simon Willison, posted on 4th February 2012.

Tagged ,

Next: NoSQL: On a shared server, what are the alternatives to using SQL?

Previous: How can I parse unquoted JSON with JavaScript?