[Edu-sig] Python error messages

Mikael Johansson mpjohans@pcu.helsinki.fi
Tue, 15 Feb 2000 14:13:56 +0200 (EET)

Hello all!

I've been following this list for a while now, but must admit I've been a
bit happy with the D-key in pine :-) So this might have come up already,
altough I didn't find any references in the archives. If this is the case,
kick me!

I'm using Python as the programming language when introducing our
university students to make small chemistry-related proggies. Most of them
have never programmed before, and I must say the reception of Python has
been good; seems quite easy to get into it, even if there is no separate
programming course. 

The excersises are just part of ordinary  (physical) chemistry courses and
the students have to learn the basics of programming in about 2
hours. Which they apparently do!

Anyway, the biggest problem the students seem to have when programming on
their own, is to find their programming errors (bugs). And almost everyone
has said that the error messages Python produces are cryptic. And I must
agree, they are not that descriptive. So better error messages would be a
very good way to make the learning process even easier, without
compromising any compatibility with earlier code.

For the interested, the excersises and solutions can be found at
A word of warning though, they are in swedish :-)

Have a nice day,
    Mikael Johansson
    University of Helsinki
    Department of Chemistry