[Edu-sig] interactive vs compiled from file

Michael Tobis mtobis at gmail.com
Fri Aug 3 20:17:03 CEST 2007

One problem I have consistently had with beginners is in explaining
the difference between how the interpreter produces output without an
explicit 'print' statement (producing the str() of the last evaluated
expression) and how python run from a file does not.

This is perfectly natural and useful for an experienced user, but it
is awkward and confusing for the beginner, who has enough of a
cognitive load just trying to track all the pieces.

This leads to two (well, four) questions:

1) How have you folks addressed this problem in your beginning
classes? Do you find it causes difficulties?

2) Would it be difficult to provide an alternative interpreter that
produced nothing unless you asked it to print? Would this be a good


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