[Chicago] newbie says HI; needs help

Ted Pollari tcp at uchicago.edu
Fri Jan 20 17:18:46 CET 2006

On Jan 20, 2006, at 8:26 AM, Andrew Dudzik wrote:

> The problem with learning Python from a Pascal book is that you're  
> going to miss all of the syntactical shortcuts that makes Python  
> powerful.  For instance, you could use the line 'if texture in  
> ["flaky","caked"]'.

I'd agree with that and go a bit further by saying that it's all of  
the syntactical structure (and shortcuts) that makes Python powerful  
and yet eminently readable.  The "if texture in  ['flaky','caked']"  
expression is very readable and if there were more options in the  
list, it would be an even better simplification than having to write  
out the cases in a logical or'd conditional statement.  It's the  
readability that makes Python easy to learn and understand as well as  
easy to come back to after you've left it for a while.

> There's definitely a good one-liner for this, (the veterans should  
> chime in here) but the best I could come up with was this one:  
> (it's a hack)
> stock = 2 - (texture in ["flaky","caked"])

Sure, that works, but yeah, it's it's a hack =), just as you said.    
If you need to optimize some block of code, have your way with it and  
make it as difficult to read/understand as you need but otherwise I  
say focus on making it work and work clearly/cleanly.  (Especially if  
you're going to come back to the code a ways down the road or if  
someone else has to read your code) -- remember, there's usually a  
tradeoff between compactness of code and readability/ 
comprehensibility (of course, this trend quickly reverses itself as  
code bloats, but I digress...)

Ted Pollari
Research Programmer
Department of Health Studies
The University of Chicago
tcp at uchicago.edu

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