[Import-sig] Re: Long-awaited imputil comments

Gordon McMillan gmcm@hypernet.com
Wed, 16 Feb 2000 18:03:20 -0500

[source in archives]
> > Java doesn't do it.
> So?

So if there were demand for it, I would expect JavaSoft to 
invest web real estate in describing it as a feature. They don't. 

> But there are other reasons why you would want to see tracebacks even
> if you're not actively developing.
> Plenty of people distribute mostly-working code to end users and ask
> them to report tracebacks.  E.g. the Ultraseek product from Infoseek
> (used for the python.org search) occasionally displays tracebacks.
> The Zope guys also do this (they hide the traceback in an HTML comment
> I believe, but it's there).
> Sure, you can take a traceback without source lines and match up the
> line numbers manually with your source, assuming you have the exact
> version of the source -- but it's a pain.

It's an inconvenience which I think will cause far less pain and 
suffering than you're predicting.

I can't double click in my browser and go to the source, nor in 
an email containing a traceback. So unless I'm intimately 
familiar with the bug, I'll be entering line numbers into my 
editor anyway.
Let them distribute alphas and betas in source form if that's a 
problem. They'll still enter line numbers into their editors.

> > A developer who wants run from an archive, yet see (but not 
> > alter) the source at a traceback can do as above (install 
> > source, then archive it).
> That's no option for distributions -- the archive is the only
> distribution!

Archives aren't a convenience for distribution - you zip / tgz 

They're only a minor aid in installing (unless you're talking 
about a "freeze" type situation, in which case you almost 
certainly don't want source) - it's that much less you need to 
unpack, but you'll almost certainly be uncompressing and 
unpacking anyway - even if just to get to the README. 

We've already thrown "disk space" out, since zlib isn't 
everywhere available. 

That leaves speed. We've interfered with that by adopting a 
complex file format, but I can buy the reasoning - the 
existance of tools.
> > Users who don't know and don't care can snip the traceback 
> > and send it to the developer, who can find the source.
> As I said, very inconvenient.
> > Yeah, it can be supported, but Pythonworks is the only people 
> > who are going to use it, and the mad scientist can code it up 
> > in 10 minutes ;-). 
> I didn't say I wanted *you* to code it.  I just said that I want the
> API.  Accessing the source code is a common need in lots of places.
> Adding the source to the archive is a nice solution.
> Why don't you like it?

It complicates based on a predicted need that I think is 
inaccurate. I've got a file folder of nearly 500 msgs about my 
installer, and not one mentions lack of access to source on a 
traceback as a problem. Yes, that's "different", because it's a 
freeze like situation, and people don't make that complaint 
about freeze, either.

Which takes me back to Java as a real life example.

I say the only people who would be bothered are developers 
using archives - and as developers, they have easy ways of 
dealing with it.

OK, I'm being irate. No, it's not that big a deal. Maybe by 
Py3K we'll have agreed on what exception to raise when 
get_source fails...

- Gordon