On Tue, 2003-10-21 at 18:51, Guido van Rossum wrote:
this is a bit OT and too late, but given that our closed over variables are read-only, I'm wondering whether, having a 2nd chance, using cells and following mutations in the enclosing scopes is really worth it, we kind of mimic Scheme and relatives but there outer scope variables are also rebindable. Maybe copying semantics not using cells for our closures would not be too insane, and people would not be burnt by trying things like this:
for msg in msgs: def onClick(e): print msg panel.append(Button(msg,onClick=onClick))
which obviously doesn't do what one could expect today. OTOH as for general mutability, using a mutable object (list,...) would allow for mutability when one really need it (rarely).
I think copying semantics would be too surprising.
It was done this way because not everybody agreed that closed-over variables should be read-only, and the current semantics allow us to make them writable (as in Scheme, I suppose?) if we can agree on a syntax to declare an "intermediate scope" global.
Maybe "global x in f" would work?
Woo hoo. I'm happy to hear you've had a change of heart on this topic. I think a simple, declarative statement would be clearer than assigning to an attribute of a special object.
If a special object, like __global__, existed, could you create an alias, like:
surprise = __global__ surprise.x = 1 print __global__.x
It would apparently also allow you to use a local and global variable with the same name in the same scope. That's odd, although I suppose it would be clear from context whether the local or global was intended.
def outer(): x = 1 def intermediate(): x = 2 def inner(): global x in outer x = 42 inner() print x # prints 2 intermediate() print x # prints 42
I would prefer to see a separate statement similar to global that meant "look for the nearest enclosing binding." Rather than specifying that you want to use x from outer, you could only say you don't want x to be local. That means you'd always get intermediate.
I think this choice is more modular. If you can re-bind a non-local variable, then the name of the function where it is initially bound isn't that interesting. It would be safe, for example, to move it to another place in the function hierarchy without affecting the semantics of the program -- except that in the case of "global x in outer" you'd have to change all the referring global statements. Or would the semantics be to create a binding for x in outer, even if it didn't already exist?