Arrays vs Lists

David Vaughan dvk at
Wed Dec 4 14:27:01 EST 2002

On Thursday, December 5, 2002, at 12:32 AM, Mike McManus wrote:

> I have seen a lot about arrays lately here. So I am wondering.
> 1. Why or when is an Array better than a list?
> 2. When is a multidimensional Array better than a variable made up of 
> multiple lines with a list on each line?

Reflecting on my practice, my approach is that I use an array when I 
wish to access elements at random or think of information as labelled 
data, whereas a list is preferred whenever I have a data blob or 
naturally deal with it in sequence. These are not exclusive, as you can 
refer to line n of a list (slow compared with an array), combine an 
array and treat as a list for a while, or sort its keys for a 
particular sequence.

Since all keys in Rev arrays are just extended strings, with the 
multi-key structure being one of our imagining, I used two-dimensional 
lists (lines of items) rather than two-key arrays in the most obvious 
example in my recollection. Both lists and arrays can have delimiter 
problems (between the keys in multi-dimensional arrays) depending on 
the data.

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