Here's the May 01-15 draft. Sorry for the delay. Please check the Unicode summary at the end especially closely; I'm not entirely sure I got that one all right. Thanks!
As always, please let us know if you have any corrections!
====================== Summary Announcements ======================
---------------------------------------------- PEP 340 Episode 2: Revenge of the With (Block) ----------------------------------------------
This fornight's Python-Dev was dominated again by another nearly 400 messages on the topic of anonymous block statements. The discussion was a little more focused than the last thanks mainly to Guido's introduction of `PEP 340`_. Discussion of this PEP resulted in a series of other PEPs, including
* `PEP 342`_: Enhanced Iterators, which broke out into a separate PEP the parts of `PEP 340`_ that allowed code to pass values into iterators using ``continue EXPR`` and yield-expressions.
* `PEP 343`_: Anonymous Block Redux, a dramatically simplified version of `PEP 340`_, which removed the looping nature of the anonymous blocks and the injection-of-exceptions semantics for generators.
* `PEP 3XX`_: User Defined ("with") Statements, which proposed non-looping anonymous blocks accompanied by finalization semantics for iterators and generators in for loops.
Various details of each of these proposals are discussed below in the sections:
1. `Enhanced Iterators`_
2. `Separate APIs for Iterators and Anonymous Blocks`_
3. `Looping Anonymous Blocks`_
4. `Loop Finalization`_
At the time of this writing, it looked like the discussion was coming very close to a final agreement; `PEP 343`_ and `PEP 3XX`_ both agreed upon the same semantics for the block-statement, the keyword had been narrowed down to either ``do`` or ``with``, and Guido had agreed to add back in to `PEP 343`_ some form of exception-injection semantics for generators.
.. _PEP 340: http://www.python.org/peps/pep-0340.html
.. _PEP 342: http://www.python.org/peps/pep-0342.html
.. _PEP 343: http://www.python.org/peps/pep-0343.html
========= Summaries =========
------------------ Enhanced Iterators ------------------
`PEP 340`_ incorporated a variety of orthogonal features into a single proposal. To make the PEP somewhat less monolithic, the method for passing values into an iterator was broken off into `PEP 342`_. This method includes:
* updating the iterator protocol to use .__next__() instead of .next()
* introducing a new builtin next()
* allowing continue-statements to pass values into iterators
* allowing generators to receive values with a yield-expression
Though these features had seemed mostly uncontroversial, Guido seemed inclined to wait for a little more motivation from the co-routiney people before accepting the proposal.
- `Breaking off Enhanced Iterators PEP from PEP 340 http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053463.html`__
------------------------------------------------ Separate APIs for Iterators and Anonymous Blocks ------------------------------------------------
`PEP 340`_ had originally proposed to treat the anonymous block protocol as an extension of the iterator protocol. Several problems with this approach were raised, including:
* for-loops could accidentally be used with objects requiring blocks, meaning that resources would not get cleaned up properly
* blocks could be used instead of for-loops, violating TOOWTDI
As a result, both `PEP 343`_ and `PEP 3XX`_ propose decorators for generator functions that will wrap the generator object appropriately to match the anonymous block protocol. Generator objects without the proposed decorators would not be usable in anonymous block statements.
- `PEP 340 -- loose ends http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053206.html`__ - `PEP 340 -- concept clarification http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053280.html`__
------------------------ Looping Anonymous Blocks ------------------------
A few issues arose as a result of `PEP 340`_'s formulation of anonymous blocks as a variation on a loop.
Because the anonymous blocks of `PEP 340`_ were defined in terms of while-loops, there was some discussion as to whether they should have an ``else`` clause like Python ``for`` and ``while`` loops do. There didn't seem to be one obvious interpretation of an ``else`` block though, so Guido rejected the ``else`` block proposal.
The big issue with looping anonymous blocks, however, was in the handling of ``break`` and ``continue`` statements. Many use cases for anonymous blocks did not require loops. However, because `PEP 340`_ anonymous blocks were implemented in terms of loops, ``break`` and ``continue`` acted much like they would in a loop. This meant that in code like::
for item in items: with lock: if handle(item): break
the ``break`` statement would only break out of the anonymous block (the ``with`` statement) instead of breaking out of the for-loop. This pretty much shot-down `PEP 340`_; there were too many cases where an anonymous block didn't look like a loop, and having it behave like one would have been a major stumbling block in learning the construct.
As a result, both `PEP 343`_ and `PEP 3XX`_ were proposed as non-looping versions of `PEP 340`_.
- `PEP 340: Else clause for block statements http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053190.html`__ - `PEP 340 -- loose ends http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053206.html`__ - `PEP 340 -- concept clarification http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053226.html`__ - `PEP 340: Breaking out. http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053223.html`__ - `PEP 340: Non-looping version (aka PEP 310 redux) http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053400.html`__ - `PEP 340 - Remaining issues http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053406.html`__ - `PEP 340: Deterministic Finalisation (new PEP draft, either a competitor or update to PEP 340) http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053503.html`__ - `Merging PEP 310 and PEP 340-redux? http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053591.html`__ - `PEP 343 - Abstract Block Redux http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053731.html`__
----------------- Loop Finalization -----------------
Greg Ewing pointed out that a generator with a yield inside a block-statement would require additional work to guarantee its finalization. For example, if the generator::
def all_lines(filenames): for name in filenames: with open(name) as f: for line in f: yield line
were used in code like::
for line in all_lines(filenames): if some_cond(line): break
then unless the for-loop performed some sort of finalization on the all_lines generator, the last-opened file could remain open indefinitiely.
As a result, `PEP 3XX`_ proposes that for-loops check for a __finish__() method on their iterators, and if one exists, call that method when the for-loop completes. Generators like all_lines above, that put a yield inside a block-statement, would then acquire a __finish__() method that would raise a TerminateIteration exception at the point of the last yield. The TerminateIteration exception would thus cause the block-statement to complete, guaranteeing that the generator was properly finalized.
- `PEP 340 - For loop cleanup, and feature separation http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053432.html`__ - `PEP 340: Deterministic Finalisation (new PEP draft, either a competitor or update to PEP 340) http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053503.html`__ - `PEP 343 - Abstract Block Redux http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053731.html`__
---------------------------- Breaking out of Nested Loops ----------------------------
As a result of some of the issues of looping anonymous blocks, a few threads discussed options for breaking out of nested loops. These mainly worked by augmenting the ``break`` statement with another keyword (or keywords) that would indicate which loop to break out of.
One proposal suggested that ``break`` be followed with ``for`` or ``while`` to indicate which loop to break out of. But ``break for`` would only really be useful in a while-loop nested within a for-loop, and ``break while`` would only really be useful in a for-loop nested within a while-loop. That is, because loops could only be named by type, the proposal was only useful when loops of different types were mixed. This suggestion was thus discarded as not being general enough.
A few other suggestions were briefly discussed: adding labels to loops, using an integer to indicate which "stack level" to break at, and pushing breaks onto a "break buffer", but Guido killed the discussion, saying, `"Stop all discussion of breaking out of multiple loops. It ain't gonna happen before my retirement." http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053592.html`__
- `PEP 340: Breaking out. http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053223.html`__ - `PEP 340: Deterministic Finalisation (new PEP draft, either a competitor or update to PEP 340) http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053503.html`__
------------------------ The future of exceptions ------------------------
Ka-Ping Yee suggested that instead of passing (type, value, traceback) tuples in exceptions it would be better to put the traceback in value.traceback. Guido had also suggested this (in the `PEP 340`_ murk) but pointed out that this would not work as long as string exceptions exist (as there is nowhere to put the traceback).
Guido noted that there are no concrete plans as to when string exceptions will be deprecated and removed (other than in 3.0 at the latest); he indicated that it could be sooner, if someone wrote a PEP with a timeline (e.g. deprecated in 2.5, gone in 2.6).
Brett C. volunteered to write a PEP targetted at Python 3000 covering exception changes (base inheritance, standard attributes (e.g. .traceback), reworking the built-in exception inheritance hierarchy, and the future of bare except statements).
- `Tidier Exceptions http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053671.html`__
.. _PEP 340: http://www.python.org/peps/pep-0340.html
----------------------------------- Unifying try/except and try/finally -----------------------------------
Reinhold Birkenfeld submitted a Pre-PEP to allow both except and finally clauses in try blocks. For example, a construction like::
try: <suite 1> except Ex1: <suite 2> <more except: clauses> else: <suite 3> finally: <suite 4>
would be exactly the same as the legacy::
try: try: <suite 1> except Ex1: <suite 2> <more except: clauses> else: <suite 3> finally: <suite 4>
Guido liked this idea (so much that he wanted to accept it immediately), and recommended that it was checked in as a PEP. However, Tim Peters pointed out that this functionality was removed from Python (by Guido) way back in 0.9.6, seemingly because there was confusion about exactly when the finally clause would be called (explicit is better than implicit!). Guido clarified that control would only pass forward, and indicated that he felt that since this is now available in Java (and C#) fewer people would be confused. The main concern about this change was that, while the cost was low, it seemed to add very little value.
- `Pre-PEP: Unifying try-except and try-finally http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053290.html`__
----------------- Decorator Library -----------------
Michele Simionato asked whether a module for commonly used decorators, or utilities to create decorators, was planned. Raymond Hettinger indicated that while this was likely in the long term, he felt that it was better if these first evolved via wikis, recipes, or mailing lists, so that a module would only be added once best practices and proven winners had emerged. In the meantime, there is both a `Decorator Library wiki page`_ and you can try out `Michele's library`_ [zip].
To assist with decorator creation, Michele would like a facility to copy a function. Phillip J. Eby noted that the informally-discussed proposal is to add a mutable __signature__ to functions to assist with signature preserving decorators. Raymond suggested a patch adding a __copy__ method to functions or a patch for the copy module, and Michele indicated that he would also like to subclass FunctionType with an user-defined __copy__ method.
- `my first post: asking about a "decorator" module http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053316.html`__ - `The decorator module http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053446.html`__
.. _Decorator Library wiki page: http://www.python.org/moin/PythonDecoratorLibrary .. _Michele's library: http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/%7Emicheles/python/decorator.zip
--------------------- Hooking Py_FatalError ---------------------
Errors that invoke Py_FatalError generally signify that the internal state of Python is in such a poor state that continuing (including raising an exception) is impossible or unwise; as a result, Py_FatalError outputs the error to stderr and calls abort(). m.u.k. would like to have a callback to hook Py_FatalError to avoid this call to abort(). The general consensus was that effort would be better directed to fixing the causes of fatal errors than hooking Py_FatalError. m.u.k.'s use case was for generating additional logging information; a `callback system patch`_ (revised by James William Pye) is available for those interested.
- `Need to hook Py_FatalError http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053218.html`__
.. _callback system patch: http://python.org/sf/1195571
------------------- Chaining Exceptions -------------------
Ka-Ping Yee suggested adding information to exceptions when they are raised in the handler for another exception. For example::
def a(): try: raise AError except: raise BError
raises an exception which is an instance of BError. This instance could have an attribute which is instance of AError, containing information about the original exception. Use cases include catching a low-level exception (e.g. socket.error) and turning it into a high-level exception (e.g. an HTTPRequestFailed exception) and handling problems in exception handling code. Guido liked the idea, and discussion fleshed out a tighter definition; however it was unclear whether adding this now was feasible - this would perhaps be best added in Python 3000.
- `Chained Exceptions http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053672.html`__
------------------------ Py_UNICODE Documentation ------------------------
Nicholas Bastin started a series of threads discussing an inconsistency between the Py_UNICODE docs and the behavior on some RedHat systems. The docs say that Py_UNICODE should be an alias for wchar_t when wchar_t is available and has 16 bits, but Nick found that pyconfig.h still reports PY_UNICODE_TYPE as wchar_t, even when PY_UNICODE_SIZE is 4.
An extensive discussion between Nick, Marc-Andre Lemburg and Martin v. Löwis suggests that the possible Python-internal representations for Py_UNICODE are:
* 4-byte wchar_t encoded as UTF-32 (UCS-4) * 2-byte wchar_t encoded as UTF-16 * unsigned short encoded as UTF-16
Python defaults to 2-byte mode, using wchar_t if available (and has 16 bits) and using unsigned short otherwise. You may end up with the 4-byte mode if TCL was built for UCS-4 (this overrides the defaults) or if you explicitly request it with --enable-unicode=ucs4. To get UCS-2 when TCL was built for UCS-4, you must explicitly request --enable-unicode=ucs2. Of course, this will mean that _tkinter can't be built anymore.
Also noted by this discussion was that even with --enable-unicode=ucs2, Python continues to support surrogate pairs in the BMP. So for example, even with a UCS-2 build, u"\U00012345" encodes as a sequence of two characters; it does not produce a UnicodeError.
At the time of this posting, it did not appear that there was a documentation patch available yet.
- `Py_UNICODE madness http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053264.html`__ - `New Py_UNICODE doc http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053311.html`__ - `Python's Unicode width default (New Py_UNICODE doc) http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053574.html`__
=============== Skipped Threads ===============
- `Keyword for block statements http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053189.html`__ - `PEP 340 - possible new name for block-statement http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053195.html`__ - `Generating nested data structures with blocks http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053204.html`__ - `PEP 340 -- Clayton's keyword? http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053377.html`__ - `PEP 340: Only for try/finally? http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053258.html`__ - `2 words keyword for block http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053251.html`__ - `anonymous blocks http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053297.html`__ - `"begin" as keyword for pep 340 http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053315.html`__ - `PEP 340: propose to get rid of 'as' keyword http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053320.html`__ - `PEP 340 keyword: after http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053396.html`__ - `PEP 340 keyword: Extended while syntax http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053409.html`__ - `PEP 340 - Remaining issues - keyword http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053428.html`__ - `PEP 340: Examples as class's. http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053423.html`__ - `Proposed alternative to __next__ and __exit__ http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053514.html`__ - `"with" use case: exception chaining http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053665.html`__ - `PEP 343: Resource Composition and Idempotent __exit__ http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053767.html`__ - `[Python-checkins] python/nondist/peps pep-0343.txt, 1.8, 1.9 http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053766.html`__ - `the current behavior of try: ... finally: http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053692.html`__ - `a patch to inspect and a non-feature request http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053653.html`__ - `Python 2.4 set objects and cyclic garbage http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053630.html`__ - `CHANGE BayPIGgies: May *THIRD* Thurs http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053628.html`__ - `Python continually calling sigprocmask() on FreeBSD 5 http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053615.html`__ - `Weekly Python Patch/Bug Summary http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053213.html`__ - `problems with memory management http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053408.html`__ - `Adding DBL_MANTISSA and such to Python http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053372.html`__ - `python-dev Summary for 2005-04-16 through 2005-04-30 [draft] http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053383.html`__ - `Python Language track at Europython, still possibilities to submit talks http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053303.html`__ - `(no subject) http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053196.html`__ - `Kernel panic writing to /dev/dsp with cmpci driver http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-May/053627.html`__