A python function between copy and deepcopy

When working with Python, there may be times when you need to create a copy of an object. This can be done using either the copy or deepcopy functions. However, it is important to understand the differences between these two options and choose the one that best suits your needs.

Option 1: Using the copy function

The copy function creates a shallow copy of an object. This means that it creates a new object and copies the references of the original object’s elements. If the elements of the original object are mutable, any changes made to them will be reflected in both the original and copied objects.

import copy

original_list = [1, 2, 3]
copied_list = copy.copy(original_list)

original_list.append(4)

print(original_list)  # Output: [1, 2, 3, 4]
print(copied_list)  # Output: [1, 2, 3]

In the above example, we create a shallow copy of the original_list using the copy function. When we append a new element to the original_list, it is also reflected in the copied_list. This is because both lists share the same references to their elements.

Option 2: Using the deepcopy function

The deepcopy function creates a deep copy of an object. This means that it creates a new object and recursively copies the elements of the original object. If the elements of the original object are mutable, any changes made to them will not be reflected in the copied object.

import copy

original_list = [1, 2, 3]
copied_list = copy.deepcopy(original_list)

original_list.append(4)

print(original_list)  # Output: [1, 2, 3, 4]
print(copied_list)  # Output: [1, 2, 3]

In this example, we create a deep copy of the original_list using the deepcopy function. When we append a new element to the original_list, it is not reflected in the copied_list. This is because the elements of the copied_list are independent copies of the original elements.

Option 3: Choosing the best option

The choice between using copy or deepcopy depends on the specific requirements of your program. If you only need a shallow copy of an object and want any changes made to the original object to be reflected in the copied object, then copy is the better option. On the other hand, if you need a completely independent copy of an object and want any changes made to the original object to not affect the copied object, then deepcopy is the better option.

It is important to carefully consider the implications of using either copy or deepcopy to ensure that your program behaves as expected and meets your specific needs.

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