Wow, this looks fantastic, I've wanted this for a long time! I really appreciate the work that has been put here.

As a bit of context for this and future emails, I fury wanted to say:
* I'm strongly positive about this even if I propose changes
* I've explored a bit on my own how to do this, so I'm (painfully) aware of some of the design tensions, in particular the "a pattern is neither an expression(something that you'd fight on the RHS of an assignmen) nor a target (something you'd find in the LHS of an assignment), but has a little bit of both"

That being send, here are my comments (which I'll split into separate emails so we can thread separately):

The "We use a name token to denote a capture variable and special syntax to denote matching the value of that variable" feels a bit like a foot-gun

Other people had said this so, this is mostly a +1, but I wanted to provide alternatives, and also reinforce that deciding in this way is much more likely to cause mistakes than the opposite. The most likely mistake seems for me to be using the normal instead of the "special" syntax (the dot prefix); if i write "case constant" by mistake now, I'm getting 1) a match when there likely wasn't one and 2) I clobbered my constant. Both are hard to debug. If we had special syntax for capture and I wrote "case variable" by mistake, I would likely get a NameError, which should be easier to figure out.

I saw some of the rejected approaches (like capturing with $var) and I found them visually ugly, so I want to put two others on the table, which I think I found "reasonable":

match get_node():
    case Node(value=<x>, color=RED): print(f"a red node with value {x}")
    case Node(value=<x>, color=BLACK): print(f"a black node with value {x}")
    case <n>: print(f"This is a funny colored node with value {n.value}")

This agains adds new syntax like the original proposal, but I think it makes the capture quite visible without feeling noisy; it reminds me of metaparameters in the help for command line tools (i.e. "cp <src-file> <dest-file>"). Even if we had this, I'm happy with "_" as a placeholder (rather than "<_>"). It should be posible to have <*x> or <**x> in other patterns (rather than *<x> or **<x>)... and I would probably be happy of using standalone * and ** rather than *_ and **_ (this last suggestion could work with the current syntax too).

match get_node() into c:
    case Node(value=c.x, color=RED): print(f"a red node with value {c.x}")
    case Node(value=c.x, color=BLACK): print(f"a black node with value {c.x}")
    case c.n: print(f"This is a funny colored node with value {c.n.value}")

The idea here is that instead of spreading captured names into the local namespace, we only have a single capture object in the locals, and all captures happen inside it. This also allows to syntactically (although not in the grammar) to recognize what is a variable capture and what isn't. This one is somewhat more verbose (specially if you use a longer name for the "capture") but looks much more familiar to pythonistas (and to IDE syntax highlighters ;-) ). I added the "into c" syntax without thinking too much, perhaps using "as c" or "in c", or "match(c)" could be better, I didn't want to stop much into that part before discussing the idea of using a "capture object". The capture object is mostly an attribute placeholder (I might like it to have an extra attribute to get the original matched value which is generally useful and might be easier than using a walrus, but this is a minor feature).

What does the rest of the community (and the original authors think about these alternatives?

On Tue, 23 Jun 2020 at 17:04, Guido van Rossum <> wrote:
I'm happy to present a new PEP for the python-dev community to review. This is joint work with Brandt Bucher, Tobias Kohn, Ivan Levkivskyi and Talin.

Many people have thought about extending Python with a form of pattern matching similar to that found in Scala, Rust, F#, Haskell and other languages with a functional flavor. The topic has come up regularly on python-ideas (most recently yesterday :-).

I'll mostly let the PEP speak for itself:
- Published: (*)
- Source:

(*) The published version will hopefully be available soon.

I want to clarify that the design space for such a match statement is enormous. For many key decisions the authors have clashed, in some cases we have gone back and forth several times, and a few uncomfortable compromises were struck. It is quite possible that some major design decisions will have to be revisited before this PEP can be accepted. Nevertheless, we're happy with the current proposal, and we have provided ample discussion in the PEP under the headings of Rejected Ideas and Deferred Ideas. Please read those before proposing changes!

I'd like to end with the contents of the README of the repo where we've worked on the draft, which is shorter and gives a gentler introduction than the PEP itself:

# Pattern Matching

This repo contains a draft PEP proposing a `match` statement.


The work has several origins:

- Many statically compiled languages (especially functional ones) have
  a `match` expression, for example
- Several extensive discussions on python-ideas, culminating in a
  [blog post](
  by Tobias Kohn;
- An independently developed [draft
  by Ivan Levkivskyi.


A full reference implementation written by Brandt Bucher is available
as a [fork](( of
the CPython repo.  This is readily converted to a [pull


Some [example code]( is available from this repo.


A `match` statement takes an expression and compares it to successive
patterns given as one or more `case` blocks.  This is superficially
similar to a `switch` statement in C, Java or JavaScript (an many
other languages), but much more powerful.

The simplest form compares a target value against one or more literals:

def http_error(status):
    match status:
        case 400:
            return "Bad request"
        case 401:
            return "Unauthorized"
        case 403:
            return "Forbidden"
        case 404:
            return "Not found"
        case 418:
            return "I'm a teapot"
        case _:
            return "Something else"

Note the last block: the "variable name" `_` acts as a *wildcard* and
never fails to match.

You can combine several literals in a single pattern using `|` ("or"):

        case 401|403|404:
            return "Not allowed"

Patterns can look like unpacking assignments, and can be used to bind

# The target is an (x, y) tuple
match point:
    case (0, 0):
    case (0, y):
    case (x, 0):
    case (x, y):
        print(f"X={x}, Y={y}")
    case _:
        raise ValueError("Not a point")

Study that one carefully!  The first pattern has two literals, and can
be thought of as an extension of the literal pattern shown above.  But
the next two patterns combine a literal and a variable, and the
variable is *extracted* from the target value (`point`).  The fourth
pattern is a double extraction, which makes it conceptually similar to
the unpacking assignment `(x, y) = point`.

If you are using classes to structure your data (e.g. data classes)
you can use the class name followed by an argument list resembling a
constructor, but with the ability to extract variables:

from dataclasses import dataclass

class Point:
    x: int
    y: int

def whereis(point):
    match point:
        case Point(0, 0):
        case Point(0, y):
        case Point(x, 0):
        case Point():
            print("Somewhere else")
        case _:
            print("Not a point")

We can use keyword parameters too.  The following patterns are all
equivalent (and all bind the `y` attribute to the `var` variable):

Point(1, var)
Point(1, y=var)
Point(x=1, y=var)
Point(y=var, x=1)

Patterns can be arbitrarily nested.  For example, if we have a short
list of points, we could match it like this:

match points:
    case []:
        print("No points")
    case [Point(0, 0)]:
        print("The origin")
    case [Point(x, y)]:
        print(f"Single point {x}, {y}")
    case [Point(0, y1), Point(0, y2)]:
        print(f"Two on the Y axis at {y1}, {y2}")
    case _:
        print("Something else")

We can add an `if` clause to a pattern, known as a "guard".  If the
guard is false, `match` goes on to try the next `case` block.  Note
that variable extraction happens before the guard is evaluated:

match point:
    case Point(x, y) if x == y:
        print(f"Y=X at {x}")
    case Point(x, y):
        print(f"Not on the diagonal")

Several other key features:

- Like unpacking assignments, tuple and list patterns have exactly the
  same meaning and actually match arbitrary sequences.  An important
  exception is that they don't match iterators or strings.
  (Technically, the target must be an instance of

- Sequence patterns support wildcards: `[x, y, *rest]` and `(x, y,
  *rest)` work similar to wildcards in unpacking assignments.  The
  name after `*` may also be `_`, so `(x, y, *_)` matches a sequence
  of at least two items without binding the remaining items.

- Mapping patterns: `{"bandwidth": b, "latency": l}` extracts the
  `"bandwidth"` and `"latency"` values from a dict.  Unlike sequence
  patterns, extra keys are ignored.  A wildcard `**rest` is also
  supported.  (But `**_` would be redundant, so it not allowed.)

- Subpatterns may be extracted using the walrus (`:=`) operator:

  case (Point(x1, y1), p2 := Point(x2, y2)): ...

- Patterns may use named constants.  These must be dotted names; a
  single name can be made into a constant value by prefixing it with a
  dot to prevent it from being interpreted as a variable extraction:

  RED, GREEN, BLUE = 0, 1, 2

  match color:
      case .RED:
          print("I see red!")
      case .GREEN:
          print("Grass is green")
      case .BLUE:
          print("I'm feeling the blues :(")

- Classes can customize how they are matched by defining a
  `__match__()` method.
  Read the [PEP]( for details.

--Guido van Rossum (
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