[Import-sig] Re: [Python-Dev] Proposal for a modified import mechanism.

Gordon McMillan gmcm@hypernet.com
Mon, 12 Nov 2001 09:06:28 -0500

Prabhu wrote:
> Okay, so what do you propose?  What do you think is the best
> solution?? import, rimport, rrimport??

If I had access to Guido's time machine, I would probably 
change things so:
 import is "absolute import"
 rimport is "relative import"
 rrimport is "recursive relative import"

I don't, so I tend towards:
 aimport is "absolute import"
 rimport is "relative import"
 rrimport is "recursive relative import"
 import is 
    try: rimport
    except ImportError:

I'm not delighted with these names (and avoid syntax debates 
like the plague), but they seem much clearer than grafting 
relative-path syntax onto package / module names. For one 
thing, all the familiar (to Windows & *nix users) punctuation 
characters are unusable. For another, mac reverses the 
spellings (so <path-sep><name> is relative and <name> is 

My rather unreliable crystal ball tells me the number one 
objection to this will be "Why should I have to spell it out - I 
just want to import it". My reply to that would be the same as 
my reply to those who don't want to be bothered by having to 
choose a spelling for division: at the time you write the code, 
you know exactly what you want. When your code runs, we 
can only guess what you wanted.

- Gordon