[Edu-sig] The fate of raw_input() in Python 3000

Toby Donaldson tjd at sfu.ca
Tue Sep 5 19:23:40 CEST 2006

As I say, *I* don't find the "input" function useful, but I am happy
to keep it around for those free-spirits who do.


On 9/5/06, John Zelle <john.zelle at wartburg.edu> wrote:
> On Monday 04 September 2006 11:03 pm, Toby Donaldson wrote:
> >
> > I don't care about "input". Its there now and hasn't ever been useful
> > to me (eval(raw_input("...")) is a fine alternative), and, more
> > importantly, has apparently not caused confusion among students.
> >
> Again, for similar reasons to those being mentioned, I would like to keep
> input as well as raw_input. From a pedagogical perspective, it's best to meet
> students "where they're at." Most of my students have studied algorithms and
> computation before, but in the context of mathematics. The most
> straightforward way to start them out is to take their math background and
> turn it into programs. This has the additional motivation of taking some of
> the drudgery out of the math.
> Given that starting point, it's very natural to write programs that "get a
> number from the user". That's what input allows us to do, it interprets any
> literal (more generally,  expression) provided. Forcing them to use
> eval(raw_input()) requires introducing strings as a data type, if they are to
> understand it. While strings are simple and easy to introduce early, they are
> not as intuitive to my students as numbers. They have never "manipulated"
> strings before. They've been crunching numbers since second grade. Numbers,
> then strings is the natural progression.
> --
> John M. Zelle, Ph.D.             Wartburg College
> Professor of Computer Science    Waverly, IA
> john.zelle at wartburg.edu          (319) 352-8360

Dr. Toby Donaldson
School of Computing Science
Simon Fraser University (Surrey)

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