[IPython-dev] Expanding $a to 'f1 f2' when $a is ['f1','f2']

Fernando Perez Fernando.Perez at colorado.edu
Thu Mar 17 13:28:50 EST 2005

Ville Vainio wrote:
> On Wed, 2005-03-16 at 15:18 -0700, Fernando Perez wrote:
>>Sorry, but the amount of special-casing that this would require is almost 
>>guaranteed to break somewhere.  Keep in mind that you can evaluate arbitrary 
>>code in $ expressions, so you can do:
>>rm ${' '.join(junk)}
>>Not the cleanest, but it works.
>>The problem is that I simply don't see a way to generically distinguish when 
>>$foo should be evaluated as a list joined on whitespace and when it should be 
>>treated as a list.  The $ evaluation mechanism is actually a full-blown 
>>generic interpolation module, Ka-Ping Yee's Itpl, from PEP-215:
>>How do you propose such a mechanism do what you want in a generic, safe way? 
> 1. If it's just $junk (i.e. not ${junk})
> 2. not isinstance(junk, basestring)
> 3. iter(junk) does not raise TypeError
> -> Expand it as " ".join(junk)

OK, your proposal sounds very reasonable in principle.  However, I'm afraid 
that considering how the Itpl code is written, it's not that easy to do. 
These strings with $ in them get fed wholesale to the itpl machinery, which 
does the splitting on chunks at instantiation time, and then runs a fast 
eval() loop over all chunks when str() is called.

I simply don't see a clean way to inject all this special-casing logic into 
it, and I'm afraid it may break things (besides having a performance impact). 
    I really think the effort/benefit ratio is against this one, sorry.



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