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Welcome to the Insertion Sort in Python page! Here, you'll find the source code for this program as well as a description of how the program works.

```
import sys
from itertools import takewhile
def insertion_sort(xs):
new_xs = []
for x in xs:
new_xs = insert(x, new_xs)
return new_xs
def insert(x, xs):
left = list(takewhile(lambda i: i < x, xs))
right = xs[len(left):]
return left + [x] + right
def input_list(list_str):
return [int(x.strip(" "), 10) for x in list_str.split(',')]
def exit_with_error():
print('Usage: please provide a list of at least two integers to sort in the format "1, 2, 3, 4, 5"')
sys.exit(1)
def main(args):
try:
xs = input_list(args[0])
if len(xs) <= 1:
exit_with_error()
print(insertion_sort(xs))
except (IndexError, ValueError):
exit_with_error()
if __name__ == "__main__":
main(sys.argv[1:])
```

Insertion Sort in Python was written by:

- Haseeb Majid
- Jeremy Grifski
- Parker Johansen

This article was written by:

- Haseeb Majid
- Jeremy Grifski
- rzuckerm

If you see anything you'd like to change or update, please consider contributing.

Let's dig into the code a bit. The following sections break down the Insertion Sort in Python functionality.

Breaking down this solution bottom up:

```
if __name__ == "__main__":
main(sys.argv[1:])
```

This bit of code checks to see if this is the `main`

module run. If it is, it then calls the `main`

function and passes user input to it. In this case the user input would be a string of numbers to sort
like so: `"2, 1, 10, 5, 3"`

.

```
def main(args):
try:
xs = input_list(args[0])
if len(xs) <= 1:
exit_with_error()
print(insertion_sort(xs))
except (IndexError, ValueError):
exit_with_error()
```

This is the `main`

function of this file. It parses the input, then calls our insertion sort
function (and prints the results). It also deals with any errors raised.

```
def input_list(list_str):
return [int(x.strip(" "), 10) for x in list_str.split(',')]
```

This function takes a string like `"2, 1, 10, 5, 3"`

, and turns into a list of numbers.
It does this using a list comprehension. First, we need to convert our string into a
list `list_str.split(',')`

which is a list of strings split by comma (`,`

).
So our original input string becomes `["2", " 1", " 10", " 5", " 3"]`

. Then for each
element in the list `for x in ...`

, we do something to it.

In this example we convert it into a decimal integer, `int(x.strip(" "), 10)`

. Then, `x.strip(" ")`

removes any whitespace so `" 1"`

becomes `"1"`

. After that, `int("1", 10)`

converts the string `"1"`

into a decimal number in this case `1`

. This is done
for every item in the list so our original input of `"2, 1, 10, 5, 3"`

becomes `[2, 1, 10, 5, 3]`

.

```
def exit_with_error():
print('Usage: please provide a list of at least two integers to sort in the format "1, 2, 3, 4, 5"')
sys.exit(1)
```

This function prints a message and then exits the script with an error, `sys.exit(1)`

.
If any non-zero value is returned then the program didn't complete properly. This function is called
if the user input isn't correct.

```
def insertion_sort(xs):
new_xs = []
for x in xs:
new_xs = insert(x, new_xs)
return new_xs
```

Let's take a look at the part of the program that sorts our list. The unsorted list is passed to the
`insertion_sort`

method as the parameter `xs`

. Meanwhile, `new_xs = []`

is our new sorted listed which is
empty to begin with.

We loop through every element in the unsorted list `for x in xs`

. Then we call the `insert()`

function to add `x`

to the `new_xs`

(the sorted list) in the correct position.
Each time the `insert()`

function is called it returns a sorted list which we assign
to `new_xs`

. Finally, when we've looped through every item in `xs`

, we return the sorted list
`new_xs`

which will then get printed on the terminal to the user.

Taking a look at an example where `xs = [5, 3, 10]`

1st

`x = 5`

`insert(5, [])`

`new_xs = [5]`

2nd

`x = 3`

`insert(3, [5])`

`new_xs = [3, 5]`

3rd

`x = 10`

`insert(10, [3, 5])`

`new_xs = [3, 5, 10]`

```
def insert(x, xs):
left = list(takewhile(lambda i: i < x, xs))
right = xs[len(left):]
return left + [x] + right
```

This function takes two parameters `x`

, which is an element from our unsorted list, and
`xs`

, which is the list to add `x`

to such that `xs`

remains sorted.
A High-level overview of this function is that the `left`

variable will be a list that stores
all elements less than `x`

from `xs`

and `right`

will store all elements greater than (or equal)
to `x`

. That way we can "insert" `x`

between these two lists. Hence the return statement
looking like `return left + [x] + right`

and this returned list will therefore be sorted.

Let's take a look at the first line `left = list(takewhile(lambda i: i < x, xs))`

it looks a bit
complicated so let's break it down. The first part `lambda i: i < x, xs`

is a lambda function
which is a small anonymous unnamed function.
In this case `i`

is an element of `xs`

and we want all `i`

's less than `x`

.

Then, we call `takewhile(lambda i: i < x, xs)`

which takes a predicate (our lambda function) and a list.
It stops iterating over our list as soon as the lambda function evaluates to False. It then returns
all the elements up to that index.

Lets take a look at an example where `xs = [4, 7, 10]`

and `x = 8`

.
The first two items of `xs`

would evaluate as True since 4 and 7 are
less than 8, so takewhile would store 4 and 7 but not 10.
The `takewhile()`

function returns a `takewhile`

object but we want a list so we convert that into a
list hence `list(takewhile(lambda i: i < x, xs))`

. So the `left`

variable will store all numbers
less than `x`

, since `xs`

is already sorted.

Moving onto `right = xs[len(left):]`

, `len(left)`

returns the length of the left list.
Then we do some index splicing; you can learn more about that
here.
Index splicing is used to get part of a list in Python. In this case we are getting every element in
the list that's not already in `left`

. We can do this because we know `xs`

is already sorted.

If `xs = [1, 4, 6, 8]`

and `x = 7`

then `left = [1, 4, 6]`

(all elements < 7). Then `len(left) = 3`

and `right = xs[3:]`

. Where `[3:]`

gets all elements from `xs`

not including the first `3`

elements,
so therefore `right = [8]`

. Finally, we `return left + [x] + right`

as we can simply "slot" `x`

into the
correct position. We convert `x`

to a list `[x]`

first so we can do list concatenation using the
plus operator `+`

.

Lets take a look at an example, `xs = [3, 4, 6, 8, 11, 15, 18]`

and `x`

is `5`

. The variable `left`

will add consecutive elements from `xs`

until `lambda i: i < x`

(i < x) evaluates as False.
In this case `left = [3, 4]`

as 6 > 5. Then we get the length of `left`

which is `len(left) = 2`

,
slice so we don't include the first two elements `xs[2:] = [6, 8, 11, 15, 18]`

. Then we return
the following `left + [x] + right = [3, 4] + [5] + [6, 8, 11, 15, 18]`

or
`[3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 11, 15, 18]`

.

If we want to run this program, we should probably download a copy of Insertion Sort in Python. After that, we should make sure we have the latest Python interpreter. From there, we can run the following command in the terminal:

`python insertion-sort.py "3, 2, 10, 6, 1, 7"`

Alternatively, we can copy the solution into an online Python interpreter and hit run.