[Python-3000] PEP 3131 accepted

Neil Toronto ntoronto at cs.byu.edu
Wed May 23 21:48:10 CEST 2007

Josiah Carlson wrote:
> Thank you for hitting home that unless people use Emacs, their tools
> arent sufficient for Python development. I still don't believe that my
> concerns have been addressed. And I certainly don't believe that those
> Ka-Ping brought up (which are better than mine) have been addressed.
>  But hey, my tools aren't Emacs, so obviusly my concerns regarding using
> my tools to edit Python in the future don't matter.  Thank you for the
> vote of confidence.

Though I don't develop an editor in my spare time, I had a similar 
reaction to the "Emacs does Unicode this way, which is correct" 
solutions. My favorite editor is going to have to get awfully smart.

It reminds me of some friction I experienced when trying out Lisp. It's 
fairly painful to program in Lisp without an editor that does 
paren-matching and automatic indentation. I tried Emacs, and I didn't 
like it, which is a shame because it's the One True Editor for 
programming in Lisp. I basically dropped Lisp over this issue.

In Lisp's case, the editor has to be smart because Lisp syntax is 
insufficient on its own to express program semantics *to a human*. 
(Every programming language has this problem to some extent, Lisp more 
than most because of all the parenthesis and general lack of visual 
cues, and Python much less than most because of smart use of operators 
and syntactically significant whitespace.) This is a user interface 
problem for a *language*, so it rubs me the wrong way to have to have it 
solved by an *editor*.

Likewise, Unicode identifiers present numerous (detailed elsewhere) user 
interface problems. My general feeling is that language issues shouldn't 
be solved by editors. You should be able to comfortably change the 
semantics of a program with just about any text editor. Otherwise, we 
have a situation where some editors are blessed for use with the 
language and most are not, and if a would-be programmer's favorite isn't 
on the list, he leaves.


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