Cover by Allen B. Downey

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Chapter 10. Lists

A List Is a Sequence

Like a string, a list is a sequence of values. In a string, the values are characters; in a list, they can be any type. The values in a list are called elements or sometimes items.

There are several ways to create a new list; the simplest is to enclose the elements in square brackets ([ and ]):

[10, 20, 30, 40]
['crunchy frog', 'ram bladder', 'lark vomit']

The first example is a list of four integers. The second is a list of three strings. The elements of a list don’t have to be the same type. The following list contains a string, a float, an integer, and (lo!) another list:

['spam', 2.0, 5, [10, 20]]

A list within another list is nested.

A list that contains no elements is called an empty list; you can create one with empty brackets, [].

As you might expect, you can assign list values to variables:

>>> cheeses = ['Cheddar', 'Edam', 'Gouda']
>>> numbers = [17, 123]
>>> empty = []
>>> print cheeses, numbers, empty
['Cheddar', 'Edam', 'Gouda'] [17, 123] []

Lists Are Mutable

The syntax for accessing the elements of a list is the same as for accessing the characters of a string—the bracket operator. The expression inside the brackets specifies the index. Remember that the indices start at 0:

>>> print cheeses[0]
Cheddar

Unlike strings, lists are mutable. When the bracket operator appears on the left side of an assignment, it identifies the element of the list that will be assigned.

>>> numbers = [17, 123]
>>> numbers[1] = 5
>>> print numbers
[17, 5]

The one-eth ...

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