I came across these three types when I used
collections.Counter's viewkeys(),viewitems() and viewvalues() method.
The value those three methods returned are of type
They are iterable, as I have noticed.
But my question is:
- why do these three types exist? Or what's their usage?
The What's new in 2.7 document is one place these are introduced. These "views" were introduced (proposed here) for Python 3 (and backported to 2.7, as you've seen) to serve as a best-of-all-worlds for the pieces of the dict they refer to.
Before we had the
items methods which simply made lists. This wastes memory by copying the dict's information and we had the
iteritems methods that didn't waste this memory but weren't very featureful (the only thing you could do is iterate over them, and you could only do so once). These new views have logical features, such as set operations, efficient comparison, and being iterable multiple times.