# Python: Selection sort

After implementing suggestions from an earlier, related question (Python: Insertion Sort), I have written this code. Could you help me to improve this code?

def get_input():
input_str = input("Enter elements to be sorted: ")
lst = list(map(int, input_str.split()))
return lst

def selection_sort(thelist):
for i in range(len(thelist)-1):
min_idx = i

for j in range(i+1, len(thelist)):
if thelist[j] < thelist[min_idx]:
min_idx = j

thelist[i], thelist[min_idx] = thelist[min_idx], thelist[i]

if __name__ == '__main__':
input_list = get_input()
selection_sort(input_list)
print(*input_list, sep = ", ")

• It looks like a correct implementation of the sorting algorithm, so good job. The input prompt could be more explicit that it is expecting a sequence of integers separated by spaces. get_input() could handle errors in the input (e.g. if the user enters "a, b ,c"). You could add doc strings and you could add some unit tests for selection_sort() (e.g., sort and empty list, a one element list, an already sorted list, etc.) – RootTwo Jun 27 at 5:29
• @RootTwo This looks like an answer, not a comment :) – 409_Conflict Jun 27 at 8:37

Regarding the code itself I think functions should usually return an output and then this should be printed. It is also worth introducing some way of alerting the user if there input causes an error. I entered 5, -3, 0 and this raised an error because your code splits on spaces not commas. Additionally, you are mapping the list to int so entering a character by mistake breaks the code

Hence saying something like

def get_input():
input_str = input("Enter elements to be sorted: ")
try:
lst = list(map(int, input_str.split()))
except:
raise TypeError ("Please enter a list of integers only, separated by a space")
return lst

def selection_sort(thelist):
for i in range(len(thelist)-1):
min_idx = i

for j in range(i+1, len(thelist)):
if thelist[j] < thelist[min_idx]:
min_idx = j

thelist[i], thelist[min_idx] = thelist[min_idx], thelist[i]
return thelist

if __name__ == '__main__':
input_list = get_input()
output = selection_sort(input_list)
print(*output, sep = ", ")

• I don't agree on there needing to be an output. Python convention is that methods that change a list inplace (list.sort, list.extend,...) do not return a value. I think this is to prevent the assumption that you need the assignment, and the original input is untouched. Here you mutate the input, and return the value. I would choose either of the 2. Your remark on get_input are correct. I would however surround this with a while True:, print the error msg instead of raising the Exception. and give the user a new chance to give input in the correct format – Maarten Fabré Jun 27 at 13:07