How to sort a list of objects based on an attribute of the objects?


Question

I've got a list of Python objects that I'd like to sort by an attribute of the objects themselves. The list looks like:

>>> ut
[<Tag: 128>, <Tag: 2008>, <Tag: <>, <Tag: actionscript>, <Tag: addresses>,
 <Tag: aes>, <Tag: ajax> ...]

Each object has a count:

>>> ut[1].count
1L

I need to sort the list by number of counts descending.

I've seen several methods for this, but I'm looking for best practice in Python.

1
685
7/1/2018 11:26:13 AM

Accepted Answer

# To sort the list in place...
ut.sort(key=lambda x: x.count, reverse=True)

# To return a new list, use the sorted() built-in function...
newlist = sorted(ut, key=lambda x: x.count, reverse=True)

More on sorting by keys »

1133
1/9/2009 6:07:57 PM

A way that can be fastest, especially if your list has a lot of records, is to use operator.attrgetter("count"). However, this might run on an pre-operator version of Python, so it would be nice to have a fallback mechanism. You might want to do the following, then:

try: import operator
except ImportError: keyfun= lambda x: x.count # use a lambda if no operator module
else: keyfun= operator.attrgetter("count") # use operator since it's faster than lambda

ut.sort(key=keyfun, reverse=True) # sort in-place

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