On Fri, Jul 6, 2018 at 12:48 PM, Alexander Belopolsky email@example.com wrote:
Python really has a strong C legacy and this is the area where I agree that C designers made a mistake by picking a symmetric symbol (=) for an asymmetric operation. On top of that, they picked an asymmetric digraph (!=) for a symmetric operation as well and Python (unfortunately) followed the crowd and ditched a much better alternative (<>). My only hope is that Python 4.0 will allow ← to be used in place of either = or :=. :-)
Interesting. Looking over Python's binary operators, we have:
|, ^, &, +, *: symmetric (on ints) -, /, //, **: asymmetric <, >: mirrored operations <=, >=: mirrored operations but not reflected <<, >>: non-mirrored asymmetric and, or: technically asymmetric but often treated as symmetric in, not in: asymmetric is, is not: symmetric
Which ones ought to have symmetric symbols, in an ideal world? Should <= and >= be proper mirrors of each other? Are << and >> confusing? Is it a problem that the ** operator is most decidedly asymmetric?
Personally, I'm very happy that the operators use the same symbols that they do in other languages - U+002B PLUS SIGN means addition, for instance - and everything else is secondary. But maybe this is one of those "hidden elegances" that you're generally not *consciously* aware of, but which makes things "feel right", like how Disney's "Moana" has freedom to the right of the screen and duty to the left. Are there languages where symmetric operations are always represented with symmetric symbols and vice versa?