SequenceMatcher Examples

This example compares two strings, considering blanks to be “junk”:

>>> s = SequenceMatcher(lambda x: x == " ",
...                     "private Thread currentThread;",
...                     "private volatile Thread currentThread;")

ratio() returns a float in [0, 1], measuring the similarity of the sequences.  As a rule of thumb, a ratio() value over 0.6 means the sequences are close matches:

>>> print(round(s.ratio(), 3))

If you’re only interested in where the sequences match, get_matching_blocks() is handy:

>>> for block in s.get_matching_blocks():
...     print("a[%d] and b[%d] match for %d elements" % block)
a[0] and b[0] match for 8 elements
a[8] and b[17] match for 21 elements
a[29] and b[38] match for 0 elements

Note that the last tuple returned by get_matching_blocks() is always a dummy, (len(a), len(b), 0), and this is the only case in which the last tuple element (number of elements matched) is 0.

If you want to know how to change the first sequence into the second, use get_opcodes():

>>> for opcode in s.get_opcodes():
...     print("%6s a[%d:%d] b[%d:%d]" % opcode)
 equal a[0:8] b[0:8]
insert a[8:8] b[8:17]
 equal a[8:29] b[17:38]

Related Reading

difflib — Helpers for computing deltas