[Edu-sig] Re: Python Programming: An Introduction to Computer

Guido van Rossum guido at python.org
Sun Dec 14 12:22:49 EST 2003

> For example, I think the reason it's often compared to LISP is you
> have all these hooks into the syntax itself, such that you can
> program at the meta level.  Changing the meaning of the arithmetic
> operators is just the beginning.

Um, this is not a "hook into the syntax", and operator overloading
isn't very Lispish; I think the concept actually came from Algol-68
and was popularized by C++.

Lisp's hooks into the syntax are a lot more direct: its syntax
actually translates to a data structure that is directly manipulable
from inside the program, which is not how Python works.  The available
"representations" of program code are either trivial (strings),
immutable (code objects) or extremely hard to handle (parse trees).
And there is no way to change the *syntax*.

About the main topic of this weekend's thread, I am happy to hear
Python's role in the CS curriculum clarified (thanks to John Zelle's
book as a conversation-starter), and I am seeing some posts from Arthur
that I can actually understand.

--Guido van Rossum (home page: http://www.python.org/~guido/)

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