On 18 November 2016 at 01:26, Steven D'Aprano firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
At this point, I think it is a waste of time to continue discussing alternatives to augmented assignment syntax. I'm happy to discuss the culture of Python and how we decide on making changes to the language, but I am not interested in discussing augmented assignment itself.
Fair and honest answer. How one would discuss then about "how we decide on making changes" at all? In this particular case, of course I am not interested in assignment operator itself but I am very interested how the judgement on syntax would see, namely I was very interested to see how people would imagine writing something in some other way and how it feels. Thats it. This is kind of too naive, but such questions I think will and should appear.
And as I see there are quite a lot of absolutely different opinions on it. Some probably even consider not worth it even looking at examples, since it from beginning will return "syntax error". Yes there were such kind of answers (not in this thread, but still I've seen such approach).
I observed the previous thread, where it was asked about changing += to =+, namely change the direction of symbols and there indeed followed a bunch of answers, that a =- 2 will be same as: a = -2 Well, kind of true, but you know, not necesserily the original poster did not know it. And what is much more important, that apart from the compatibility and tradition issue, there could be still something to think about, so one probably should try to "read between the lines" and see how the OP comes to this idea. Yes, it is probably dozen of people (I don't know) who decides for syntax changes, but the amount of potential users is huge and I personally tend to look in the future rather than looking into other languages or worrying too much about oldies who got used to some particular syntax. I will become one day an old fart too, but I will never be angry on those who uses better syntax and that my syntax is obsolete now. For me personally switching to new syntax, if it looks better, would be only pleasure and kind of interesting experience. So it depends and I don't want to hurt noboby with that.
As for backward compatibility issues: it is not my destiny, but there is an analogy with my earlier discussion about numeric represantations. One wants to keep the amount of Python versions minimal and make minimal changes and thats right. But IMHO one should probably make even less versions of Python and longer period before new version, but with more radical changes to the syntax, the question is where do you find the people who take responsibilty, that these changes will be good. In similar way, there is no sense to make small corrections to numeric representation or writing, but it is important to keep the work on it and only rarely make radical improvements.
A good example is relatively new "format" method for printing strings. I remember reading a thread on SO and I was almost shocked how some people write about it. Even given the fact that nobody prohibited the old % formatter, in some comments I literally feel the hate. And it is really sad, since it is just a change to a better readable syntax. In this moment I really felt sorry for python developers who want to make something good to people and must hear this. I would punish those and take away the % formatter. (that was a joke:).