Arrays vs Lists

miscdas at miscdas at
Fri Dec 6 05:34:00 EST 2002

Dar Scott writes: 

> On Thursday, December 5, 2002, at 10:12 AM, miscdas at wrote: 
>>> As for Dar's question about a list. IME, a list is an ordered delimited 
>>> groups of words or phrases. The delimiter is usually, but not always a 
>>> comma. I suspect that is not correct when you consider programming in 
>>> general. But having spent a lot of time in Hypercard. That is what I 
>>> consider one.  You can delimit with anything, just be sure it doesn't 
>>> pop up in you list items.
>> Why restrict your definition to an ORDERED group of "things"? Granted 
>> that intuitively, ordering renders the list more useful. But should it be 
>> a requirement?
> I think in general in programming I would think _ordered_ is a requirement 
> for "list".  Also, in programming the "distance" or ease of access for 
> data in the middle or end may not be as low as that for the front.  
> Perhaps the word "sequence" would have less of that stigma. 
> A more general term that would not include order might be a collection. 
> I wasn't sure whether Revolutionaries used "list" for a string that 
> separated inclosed data with delimiters, that with delimiters being 
> lineFeeds specifically, or in the more general sense.  I am tinkering with 
> my library for packing up values into a sequence that I have called a list 
> (slightly related to lists in functional lisp but without data sharing).  
> I'm thinking about changing the name of these things to something else 
> such as bundle so as to not cause confusion should my library escape. 
> Dar Scott 
> A more general term that would not include order might be a collection.
Or maybe a "set" 

Well, I'm thinkig specifically about the case of creating and maintaining a 
contact list. I have many "records" containing several data fields. I don't 
care about the order when I create the "list" (database). I simply add 
whatever new record I have to the end of the "list". The "list" has no 
particluar order, and it doesn't need any particular order to either exist 
or to be functional. Now when I WANT order, I choose some keys, such as 
lastname, companyname, zipcode. I can then either actually order my "list" 
by one of the keys, or simply leave the list "random" and let the database 
do the sorting for display purposes. When I add a new contact, it can still 
go at the end of the list, whether or not I previously did a "hard ordering" 
on the list. 


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