[Edu-sig] interactive vs compiled from file
kirby.urner at gmail.com
Sat Aug 4 02:25:32 CEST 2007
> I don't see it as "either or", but as "why not allow both?". I agree
> entirely with the strength of the REPL. However, when going from that to
> having code saved in a file and executed, a huge step occurs (which is what
> Michael was referring to I believe) in that to see something output, the
> user *must* put in an explicit print statement.
OK, but there's a middle ground between REPL and running a .py file,
which is importing library and 3rd party modules *in shell mode*.
My preferred pedagogy (others prefer others) is to
(a) start with REPL (e.g. "using Python as a calculator")
(b) move on to such as 'import math' but treating the
module as a 'grab bag of tools' that we use *interactively*
e.g. math.cos(someangle). At this point, we're ready
for graphical forms of output (e.g. VPython cylinders
and balls), possible robot control ala Logo.
(c) standalone .py programs, perhaps taking command line
inputs ala sys.args, perhaps prompting the user with an
old fashioned menu.
(d) if we get to it: (c) with the added benefit of a GUI.
The transition from (a) to (b) is where we handle the steps
of changing code in the module, doing a reload.
Plus we have the fun of talking about sys.path, dir() and
help(), talking about namespaces more generally,
'import foo' versus 'from foo import x as y'.
The transition to (c) involves looking at python the command
line executable, going python --h for the first time (looking
The transition to (d) is where many a Visual Basic programmer
thinks we should *start* e.g. with some simple standalone GUI
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