[Python-Dev] A house upon the sand

Barry A. Warsaw barry@digicool.com
Mon, 27 Nov 2000 09:46:40 -0500

>>>>> "M" == M  <mal@lemburg.com> writes:

    M> I think the overall impression of Python 2.0 being a moving
    M> target is a bit overrated: there aren't really all that many
    M> changes which affect existing code, so a Python 1.5.2
    M> introduction will still remain mostly valid even when the
    M> students use Python 2.0.

    M> It is true, that Python 2.0 offers a lot more features than
    M> 1.5.2 and that in some contexts (e.g. database interfacing on
    M> Windows) these new features have made their way into third
    M> party extensions rather fast (e.g. switching from strings to
    M> Unicode). The visible core language hasn't changed much
    M> though...  and this is goodness.

I agree completely.  What I think freaks people out is all the new
features that cropped up in 2.0.  People think they have to learn all
that new fancy stuff like string methods, list comprehensions, and
extended print.  For those who watch python-dev from the sidelines,
pie-in-the-sky discussions on things like continuations freak people
out even more.  There's too much brain-blowing new things being added
to my nice little language!

But it doesn't have to be that way.  As others have pointed out,
almost all the code that worked for 1.5.2 works for 2.0 and 1.5.2 was
released what? 18 months ago?  That's a lot of stability these days.

I understand that adding new stuff to the language has an impact on
slow-update media like books, and that should not be ignored.  But
people don't have to learn (or be taught) the new features to be just
as productive in Python 2.0 as they were in 1.5.2.  They can learn the
new stuff once they've grasped and are comfortable with the old.

2.0 introduced a lot of new stuff, as much because of social reasons
and pressures as for technical benefits.  On the flip side, we've had
messages in this forum decrying the recent dearth of messages.  I
suspect that's partly a reaction to all the changes in 2.0, letting
the new things settle in.  I can't imagine that 2.1 will have nearly
as many new features.