[Python-Dev] A house upon the sand

M.-A. Lemburg mal@lemburg.com
Sat, 25 Nov 2000 17:21:06 +0100

Mark Lutz wrote:
> Frankly, some people in my classes are very concerned by the rapid
> pace of Python change, and I think their fear is justified.  I get
> burned a little almost every time a new Python release rolls out
> too.  Most recently, some new book examples that worked in 1.5.2
> this summer no longer work under 2.0 this fall; I understand that
> most changes are improvements (and minor), but this is not a great
> story to tell.
> A prime example: the string module, used in almost every Python
> program ever written by the half-million Python users out there,
> has suddenly been marked as deprecated.  I expect that it won't
> really go away, but has anyone considered the impact of even the
> suggestion of its deprecation on Python's acceptance?

It is depreciated because string methods provide a better
model of extensibility for future versions. string.py simply
interfaces to these new methods. It won't go away, but using the
methods directly will provide better performance and an
overall better experience... this doesn't mean that Python
programmers can no longer use string.py, but it should hint
them towards using the string methods instead.

Next to come are number methods, AFAICT ;-)
> If using Python requires that programmers invest lots of time
> tracking the whims of python-dev, then Python will become much
> less useful, imo.  Most developers just don't have the extra time
> to spare.  A formal standard doc could give us at least a baseline
> Python definition that developers could cling to.  Companies need
> to see a solid and reliable foundation.

The only major incompatbile changes in 2.0 are the .append()
et al. changes and the str(1L) change. These have been
highlighted in the changes paper.
> Unfortunately, I don't have the time or interest in pushing this
> idea through to fruition myself.  Do you have any ideas along these
> lines?  Maybe this task belongs in whatever body eventually takes
> over ownership.  I'm copying this to python-dev in the hopes that
> it might trigger some sort of discussion.

I don't see how a Python standard would do any good. Standards
have version numbers as well and change at about the same rate
(e.g. take Unicode 2.0 vs. Unicode 3.0).

Besides, who forces anyone to use 2.0 instead of 1.5.x which
has been around for many years now ?

Sorry, but I sense bureaucracy kreeping into the house...
Marc-Andre Lemburg
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