[Python-Dev] Integer division transition
Guido van Rossum
Mon, 06 Nov 2000 12:17:22 -0500
> > David Scherer proposed to spell this pragma as a "magical import"
> > (http://www.python.org/pipermail/idle-dev/2000-April/000138.html).
> Huh? AFAIR David Scherer and Bruce Sherwood used the 'global'-statement
> at module level as a backward compatible method to introduce module level
> pragmas. (http://www.python.org/pipermail/idle-dev/2000-April/000140.html)
> I still like David Scherers proposal very much.
Oops, you're right. That URL mentions "global olddivision". The
"import floatdivision" proposal came from a more recent private mail
from Bruce Sherwood. I maintain that neither seems the right way to
spell "directive". I think "import" is slightly better if the import
is supposed to enable a feature that is not supported by previous
versions, because the import will cause a clear failure on systems
that don't have the new feature (rather than silently giving wrong
> BTW: I think the "symbol" '//' is incredible ugly and starting with
> IBMs JCL years ago all languages I encountered, that used this symbol
> for something, did suck in some way or another. I would appreaciate
> very much, if it could be avoided alltogether to add a symbol '//'
> to Python. '//' will look like a comment delimiter to most people today.
Good point. I've just used // as a placeholder for a new way to spell
> Using a new keyword like 'div' in the tradition of languages like
> Modula-2 looks far more attractive to me.
That's a possibility too. It's a new keyword though, which has a much
higher threshold for acceptance than a new two-character operator
symbol. We could spell it as a built-in function: div(a, b),
(analogous to divmod(a, b)) but that's not very user-friendly either.
--Guido van Rossum (home page: http://www.python.org/~guido/)