[Import-SIG] What if namespace imports weren't special?

Stephen Waterbury waterbug at pangalactic.us
Mon Jul 11 05:07:34 CEST 2011

On 07/10/2011 10:34 PM, P.J. Eby wrote:
> I think one reason we're having trouble with naming and explaining this
> whole concept is that, really, the current Python import system is
> broken, compared to other languages.

That seems an important consideration, at least because of the
negative perception it presents to programmers coming from other
languages ...

> ... All packages *should* be namespace packages, pretty
> much. It's the *non* namespaceyness of Python's default packages that's
> broken, not the term. ;-)

Novel to a Python programmer, perhaps even "revolutionary",
but logical on the face of it.

> Actually... here's an interesting idea. Suppose that we define the rules
> so that any directory containing any file with an importable extension
> is a namespace package... *but*, if one of those directories contains an
> __init__ module, that directory will be placed first on the package
> __path__.
> If we did that, then there would be no need for any special flag files ...

I like losing the flag files -- nice!

> The only backward compatibility that this can break is that you can
> import things you couldn't import before. ...

... which seems like no breakage at all, really.

> In other words, the first subdirectory with an __init__ gets to head up
> the new package's __path__, but ALL matching subdirectories will make up
> the tail.
> The big advantage of this approach is that it doesn't require us to have
> a special name - it's just, "Enhanced Package Imports" or some such. No
> special marker files to name, either. Just, "hey, people want to put
> their package contents in more than one directory, and they don't always
> need an __init__.py."
> Thoughts, anyone?

I like it very much:  it seems elegant and minimalist.

To put my comments in context, I am a non-implementor and non-guru,
but also a Python old-timer, who wants to use "partitioned packages"
and would like to see this done right.  I.e., this is input from the
peanut gallery.  ;)


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