Compare randomly generated string to an existing list of strings

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I have a form that expects a unique 5-character ID. I have a function that generates this unique ID. Before entering it in the form, I want to compare it with an existing list of IDs. If the generated ID doesn't exist in the list, pass it in a variable; if it does exist and it isn't unique, generate another ID. What's the best way to go about this?

def generate_id():
    random_id= ''.join(random.choice(string.ascii_uppercase + string.digits) for _ in range(5))
    return random_id

existing_ids = ['AAAAA', 'BBBBB', 'CCCCC']
for id in existing_ids:
    if not generate_id() == id:
        unique_id = generate_id()

Debugging:

for id in existing_ids:

This denotes the execution of the loop for the number of items in the existing_ids, which is definitely not what you want.

if not generate_project_id() == id:
    unique_id = generate_project_id()

Apart from the incorrect method name, generate_project_id() should have been generate_id(), this will not do what you think it will, i.e. even if the id is unique it will store a different id in the unique_id since it is calling the method again, unique_id = generate_project_id() and who knows it could be a dupe!

Hence:

If the intention is to keep generating unique id's until one that does not exist in the existing list show up, put it in a loop using set() to exclude any dupes in the existing list:

import string

def generate_id():
    random_id = ''.join(random.choice(string.ascii_uppercase + string.digits) for _ in range(5))
    return random_id

existing_ids = ['AAAAA', 'BBBBB', 'CCCCC']    

while True:
    genId = generate_id()
    if genId not in set(existing_ids):
        unique_id = genId
        break

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while True:
    a = generate_id()
    if a not in set(existing_ids) : 
        break

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import random
import string

def generate_id():
  random_id = ''
  random_id = ''.join(random.choice
        (string.ascii_uppercase + string.digits) for _ in range(5))
  return random_id

existing_ids = ['AAAAA', 'BBBBB', 'CCCCC']

unique_id = generate_id()
while unique_id in existing_ids:
  unique_id = generate_id()
  if unique_id not in existing_ids:
    break; 
print(unique_id)

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I think you could try bitmap? Because 5 chars could construct a number which < 2**32, so you can generate a random number [0-26**6] and use it to mod 26 to get the only 5 chars, you can use bitmap to check if it exists.

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Comments
  • Works fine for me, where are you stuck?
  • EXCEPT just one thing.
  • Use while True instead of while 1. It's clearer. Also: existing_ids should be a set otherwise it's going to take forever.