1. Introduction

1.1. Functionality

Class nocasedict.NocaseDict is a case-insensitive ordered dictionary that preserves the original lexical case of its keys.

Example:

$ python
>>> from nocasedict import NocaseDict

>>> dict1 = NocaseDict({'Alpha': 1, 'Beta': 2})

>>> dict1['ALPHA']  # Lookup by key is case-insensitive
1

>>> print(dict1)  # Keys are returned with the original lexical case
NocaseDict({'Alpha': 1, 'Beta': 2})

The NocaseDict class supports the functionality of the built-in dict class of Python 3.8 on all Python versions it supports with the following exceptions (and the case-insensitivity of course):

  • The iter..(), view..() and has_key() methods are only present on Python 2, consistent with the built-in dict class.

  • The keys(), values() and items() methods return a list on Python 2 and a dictionary view on Python 3, consistent with the built-in dict class.

Functionality can be added using mixin classes:

  • HashableMixin mixin class: Adds case-insensitive hashability.

  • KeyableByMixin() mixin generator function: Adds ability to get the key from an attribute of the value object.

Why yet another case-insensitive dictionary: We found that all previously existing case-insensitive dictionary packages on Pypi either had flaws, were not well maintained, or did not support the Python versions we needed.

1.2. Installation

1.2.1. Supported environments

The package does not have any dependencies on the type of operating system and is regularly tested in CI systems on the following operating systems:

  • Ubuntu, native Windows, CygWin, OS-X / macOS

The package is supported on the following Python versions:

  • Python: 2.7, 3.4 and all higher 3.x versions

1.2.2. Installing

  • Prerequisites:

    • The Python environment into which you want to install must be the current Python environment, and must have at least the following Python packages installed:

      • setuptools

      • wheel

      • pip

  • Install the nocasedict package and its prerequisite Python packages into the active Python environment:

    $ pip install nocasedict
    

1.2.3. Installing a different version

The examples in the previous sections install the latest version of nocasedict that is released on PyPI. This section describes how different versions of nocasedict can be installed.

  • To install an older released version of nocasedict, Pip supports specifying a version requirement. The following example installs nocasedict version 0.1.0 from PyPI:

    $ pip install nocasedict==0.1.0
    
  • If you need to get a certain new functionality or a new fix that is not yet part of a version released to PyPI, Pip supports installation from a Git repository. The following example installs nocasedict from the current code level in the master branch of the nocasedict repository:

    $ pip install git+https://github.com/pywbem/nocasedict.git@master#egg=nocasedict
    

1.2.4. Verifying the installation

You can verify that nocasedict is installed correctly by importing the package into Python (using the Python environment you installed it to):

$ python -c "import nocasedict; print('ok')"
ok

1.3. Package version

The version of the nocasedict package can be accessed by programs using the nocasedict.__version__ variable:

nocasedict._version.__version__ = '1.0.4'

The full version of this package including any development levels, as a string.

Possible formats for this version string are:

  • “M.N.P.dev1”: Development level 1 of a not yet released version M.N.P

  • “M.N.P”: A released version M.N.P

Note: For tooling reasons, the variable is shown as nocasedict._version.__version__, but it should be used as nocasedict.__version__.

1.4. Compatibility and deprecation policy

The nocasedict project uses the rules of Semantic Versioning 2.0.0 for compatibility between versions, and for deprecations. The public interface that is subject to the semantic versioning rules and specificically to its compatibility rules are the APIs and commands described in this documentation.

The semantic versioning rules require backwards compatibility for new minor versions (the ‘N’ in version ‘M.N.P’) and for new patch versions (the ‘P’ in version ‘M.N.P’).

Thus, a user of an API or command of the nocasedict project can safely upgrade to a new minor or patch version of the nocasedict package without encountering compatibility issues for their code using the APIs or for their scripts using the commands.

In the rare case that exceptions from this rule are needed, they will be documented in the Change log.

Occasionally functionality needs to be retired, because it is flawed and a better but incompatible replacement has emerged. In the nocasedict project, such changes are done by deprecating existing functionality, without removing it immediately.

The deprecated functionality is still supported at least throughout new minor or patch releases within the same major release. Eventually, a new major release may break compatibility by removing deprecated functionality.

Any changes at the APIs or commands that do introduce incompatibilities as defined above, are described in the Change log.

Deprecation of functionality at the APIs or commands is communicated to the users in multiple ways:

  • It is described in the documentation of the API or command

  • It is mentioned in the change log.

  • It is raised at runtime by issuing Python warnings of type DeprecationWarning (see the Python warnings module).

Since Python 2.7, DeprecationWarning messages are suppressed by default. They can be shown for example in any of these ways:

  • By specifying the Python command line option: -W default

  • By invoking Python with the environment variable: PYTHONWARNINGS=default

It is recommended that users of the nocasedict project run their test code with DeprecationWarning messages being shown, so they become aware of any use of deprecated functionality.

Here is a summary of the deprecation and compatibility policy used by the nocasedict project, by version type:

  • New patch version (M.N.P -> M.N.P+1): No new deprecations; no new functionality; backwards compatible.

  • New minor release (M.N.P -> M.N+1.0): New deprecations may be added; functionality may be extended; backwards compatible.

  • New major release (M.N.P -> M+1.0.0): Deprecated functionality may get removed; functionality may be extended or changed; backwards compatibility may be broken.

1.5. Python namespaces

This documentation describes only the external APIs of the nocasedict project, and omits any internal symbols and any sub-modules.