Can someone explain to me the logic in here?

In the first guided project after learning the fundamentals, I reach a stage where I need to create a dictionary where I will have unique apps and the most recent ones based on the no. of reviews they have (the more reviews, the more recent is the specific entry for a duplicate app).

    reviews_max= {}

    for row in android:
        name= row[0]
        n_reviews= float(row[3])
        if name in reviews_max and reviews_max[name] < n_reviews:
            reviews_max[name] = n_reviews
        elif name not in reviews_max:
            reviews_max[name] = n_reviews

What I fail to understand are the following:

  • how is Python calculating if name in reviews_max and reviews_max[name] < n_reviews:. I fail to understand the logic here review_max[name] < n_reviews. This returns the app with the highest number of reviews. But a comparison between the key of the dictionary reviews_max[name] and no. of reviews n_reviews can give me the highest no of reviews.

  • another aspect I do not understand why in the elif statement I’m appending again the review_max[name] = n_reviews.

I would be so glad if someone could help me with explaining this. Thank you so much

Initially reviews_max= {} is an empty dictionary. So name in reviews_max will return false since we are using AND operator, the whole if clause would return false.

Then it will execute the elif statement and since it is True, n_reviews gets stored in reviews_max[name]

(Note : dictionary_name [key] = value This is what happening here. So when you say review_max[name] is is returning the value, which is the number of reviews. So when you do review_max[name] < n_reviews this comparison, you are comparing the nr of reviews already stored in the dictionary and the new review that you’re getting from iteration.)

Now in the next iteration, if the name is already in the reviews_max dictionary, we need to check if the rating associated with the new name is higher than the previous one. reviews_max[name] < n_reviews will do that. If both of them are satisfied, the higher number of review gets assigned to the already existing dictionary key.

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Initially reviews_max= {} is an empty dictionary. So name in reviews_max will return false since we are using AND operator, the whole if clause would return false.

Yes, reviews_max={} is empty in the beginning. What you said that (if) name in reviews_max will return false EVEN if we use the AND operator.

Then this will naturally run the elif clause. This results in that the first clause in the loop (if name in reviews_max and reviews_max[name] < n_reviews) will be False the first time, then it will run the elif clause which will append the name to the dictionary as a key. After this, the loop will go again and find the key name in the dictionary n_reviewstogether with using the AND operator.

So basically, the loop will find the name of the app together with the reviews and it will make that comparisons reviews_max[name] < n_reviews. What I fail to understand here is this (it follows an abstract example of the if statement in the loop):

if App_1 (name) exists in the dictionary (reviews_max) and its review (reviews_max[name]) is less than the number of reviews (n_reviews) => the number of review for that app will be added to the dictionary.

  • Here I fail to understand how actually Python selects the highest number of reviews for that specific app.


if App_1 does not exist in the dictionary => then the number of reviews for App_1 will be appended to its corresponding name (key)

  • Here I understand that the app with its reviews will be added to the dictionary no matter what.

Sorry for the long post, but I would very much like to understand this.


So you understand the first iteration. The if condition becomes false and elif condition gets executed and the key and value is stored in the dictionary.

In the next iteration, we are going to focus on 2 possible cases.

  • the same app name is found with a higher number of reviews
  • the same app name is found with a lesser number of reviews.

First case is something that we want to happen, since we are looking for apps with highest rating. So if first case happnes, we want to update our key, value pair.

So that happens in these lines.

Now consider the second case. We found an app name but its reviews are less than value stored at n_reviews. So we don’t want to update our dictionary with this value. If in the next line of code we used else instead of elif, this lower value would go and update the key, value pair in dictionary which we dont want.

In order to avoid that we are using

Here we are making sure that the value assignment happens only to those app names that hasn’t appeared yet in our dictionary. So we don’t update the dictioary with any lesser ratings.

I’m not sure if my explanation was simple enough, but I hope you got a bit more clarification. Please let me know.