leecbaker leecbaker - 2 years ago 215
Python Question

How to find the shortest string in a list in Python

This seems like a pretty simple problem, but I'm looking for a short and sweet way of doing it that is still understandable (this isn't code golf).

Given a list of strings, what's the easiest way to find the shortest string?

The way that is most obvious to me is roughly:

l = [...some strings...]
lens = map(l, len)
minlen, minind = min(lens)
shortest = l[minind]

but that seems like a lot of code for this problem (at least in python).

Answer Source

The min function has an optional parameter key that lets you specify a function to determine the "sorting value" of each item. We just need to set this to the len function to get the shortest value:

strings = ["some", "example", "words", "that", "i", "am", "fond", "of"]

print min(strings, key=len) # prints "i"
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