# Sort digits in Python

Given an integer, sort the digits in ascending order and return the new integer.

Parameters:

• Input: num {Integer}
• Output: {Integer}

Constraints:

• Do not convert the integer into a string or other data type.
• Time: O(N) where N is the number of digits.
• Space: O(1)

Examples:

• 8970 --> 789
• 32445 --> 23445
• 10101 --> 111

My code (as follows) works similar to the counting sort:

def sort_digits(n):
digit_counts = {}
result = 0

while n > 0:
digit = n % 10
digit_counts[digit] = digit_counts.get(digit, 0) + 1
n /= 10

power = 0
for i in range(10, -1, -1):
if i in digit_counts:
while digit_counts[i] >= 1:
result +=  i * (10 ** (power))
power += 1
digit_counts[i] -= 1

return result

• Without qualification, the constraint Do not convert the integer into a string or other data type. doesn't make much sense. For example, in your solution, you indirectly encode n as the dict digit_counts, does that count as conversion? I suspect it means "direct" conversion, but that's still a bit silly; more realistic is just return the value as an int. – Graham Aug 1 '18 at 0:09
• Suggest specifying this is Python 2... the implementation breaks in Python 3 because /= is not a floor divide. – Logikable Aug 1 '18 at 0:15

### 1) Use collections.Counter

from collections import Counter. Counter is a subclass of dict that helps keep tallies. This way, you don't need .get(digit, 0) or if i in digit_counts, making your code look a bit cleaner.

### 2) Iterate in increasing order

Right now, you need a power variable to track which position to place the next digit in. If you iterated in the opposite direction (i.e. range(10)), you could do result *= 10 in each loop.

### 3) Use a for loop instead of while

Whenever you are iterating and incrementing/decrementing, you have the opportunity to use a for loop. In this case, for while digit_counts[i] >= 1 you don't care about the number of iterations, so you can use the _ as a "throwaway variable".

### 4) Code localization

Move result = 0 down so that it's just above where it starts being used. Code localization improves readability - depending on your source, the human brain can only remember 4-7 things at once. The fewer variables your reader has to track, the better.

# Final Result

from collections import Counter

def sort_digits(n):
digit_counts = Counter()

while n > 0:
digit_counts[n % 10] += 1
n /= 10

result = 0
for i in range(10):
for _ in range(digit_counts[i]):
result = 10 * result + i

return result

• To make the integer division clear, it would be better to write n //= 10 even in Python 2 . And that way your proposed solution will work in Python 3 too. – janos Aug 1 '18 at 7:00

### Use a simple list to count digits

Instead of a dictionary, you can simply use a list, for example:

digit_counts =  * 10

while n > 0:
digit_counts[n % 10] += 1
n //= 10


No need for other libraries.

### doctests

Doctests are an easy way to verify your solution produces the expected output to different inputs. For example:

def sort_digits(n):
"""
>>> sort_digits(8970)
789

>>> sort_digits(32445)
23445

>>> sort_digits(10101)
111

"""
# ... the implementation


And then run the script with python -mdoctest script.py.