[IPython-dev] Should we disable autocall by default from now on?

Thomas Kluyver takowl at gmail.com
Wed Nov 30 17:56:05 EST 2011

On 30 November 2011 22:40, Brian Granger <ellisonbg at gmail.com> wrote:

> In her notebook she had a line:
> plot e1
> Which worked due to autocall.  But she had absolutely no idea why this
> worked (isn't it similar to "print 10").  In her mind, IPython=Python.
>  My options at that point:

I think this is a technical issue as much as anything. The terminal shell
clearly shows the rewritten command, and it is sent as a payload over ZMQ,
but AFAIK both of our frontends ignore it. With the notebook, I imagine we
could literally rewrite the cell to "plot(e1)". To my mind, that would
clearly say "this is the right way to do it, but I knew what you meant." It
would also work well for the copy and paste learner.

In general, one of the trickiest things for new programmers is "what does
this cryptic error message mean I need to change?". For the interpreter,
guessing what the programmer meant is tricky. Here we have the ability to
guess what the user meant and correct them. Or we can just throw an
unhelpful SyntaxError.

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