kkubasik kkubasik - 1 month ago 7
Python Question

Performance Advantages to Iterators?

What (if any) performance advantages are offered by using iterators. It seems like the 'Right Way' to solve many problems, but does it create faster/more memory-conscious code? I'm thinking specifically in Python, but don't restrict answers to just that.

Answer

There's actually a very good mail on the python mailing list about this: Iterators vs Lists. It's a bit dated (from 2003), but as far as I know, it's still valid.

Here's the summary:

For small datasets, iterator and list based approaches have similar performance. For larger datasets, iterators save both time and space.

What I would draw from it is this: iterators are to be preferred over loading data into a list if possible. But unless you have a big dataset, don't contort your code to make something that should fit in a list to work with an iterator.