I am curious why in Python a trailing comma in a list is valid syntax, and it seems that Python simply ignores it:
>>> ['a','b',] ['a', 'b']
It makes sense when its a tuple since
('a',) are two different things, but in lists?
It’s a common syntactical convention to allow trailing commas in an array, languages like C and Java allow it, and Python seems to have adopted this convention for its list data structure. It’s particularly useful when generating code for populating a list: just generate a sequence of elements and commas, no need to consider the last one as a special case that shouldn’t have a comma at the end.
The main advantages are that it makes multi-line lists easier to edit and that it reduces clutter in diffs.
s = ['manny', 'mo', 'jack', ]
s = ['manny', 'mo', 'jack', 'roger', ]
involves only a one-line change in the diff:
s = ['manny', 'mo', 'jack', + 'roger', ]
This beats the more confusing multi-line diff when the trailing comma was omitted:
s = ['manny', 'mo', - 'jack' + 'jack', + 'roger' ]
The latter diff makes it harder to see that only one line was added and that the other line didn’t change content.
It also reduces the risk of doing this:
s = ['manny', 'mo', 'jack' 'roger' # Added this line, but forgot to add a comma on the previous line ]
and triggering implicit string literal concatenation, producing
s = ['manny', 'mo', 'jackroger'] instead of the intended result.
It helps to eliminate a certain kind of bug. It’s sometimes clearer to write lists on multiple lines.
But in, later maintenace you may want to rearrange the items.
l1 = [ 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ] # Now you want to rearrange l1 = [ 1, 2, 3, 5 4, ] # Now you have an error
But if you allow trailing commas, and use them, you can easily rearrange the lines without introducing an error.
A tuple is different because
('a') is expanded using implicit continuation and
()s as a precendence operator, whereas
('a',) refers to a length 1 tuple.
Your original example would have been
The main reason is to make diff less complicated.
For example you have a list :
list = [ 'a', 'b', 'c' ]
and you want to add another element to it. Then you will be end up doing this:
list = [ 'a', 'b', 'c', 'd' ]
thus, diff will show that two lines have been changed, first adding ‘,’ in line with ‘c’ and adding ‘d’ at last line.
So, python allows trailing ‘,’ in last element of list, to prevent extra diff which can cause confusion.