[Python-Dev] Re: PEP 279

Raymond Hettinger python@rcn.com
Tue, 2 Apr 2002 00:28:45 -0500

From: "Tim Peters" <tim.one@comcast.net>
> > So now I'd like to choose between enumerate() and indexer().  Any
> > closing arguments?
> I'm leaving that quote anonymous so nobody gives it more or less weight
> it deserves <wink>.  I prefer enumerate(), because a transitive verb is
> appropriate than a noun.  OTOH, enumerate() is just a fancy pants way of
> saying "countoff()", which is nicely confusable with operator.countOf if
> you're tired <wink>.

I agree.  Enumerate is a direct, unequivocable verb that speaks directly to
the idea of sequentially assigning numbers to things.

Countoff is cool, but is a little colloquial.  Also, any of the words
incorporating count (including itercount and countoff) have a subtle
implicit suggestion of counting from one rather than zero -- "firstly, let's
take item zero ..."

While indices have a clear meaning in Python, the old Dbase and SQL part of
me is a little bugged by index(), indexed(), indexer() since sequential
files are not at all like indexed files.  When I index a database, sorting
takes place.  When I index a collection, sequencing is applied.  Much

As a part of speech, indexer() doesn't work as well in a sentence:
   for linenum, line in indexer(file): ...    # yuck!

Summary, I think we're down to subtle differences and have the following
preference order:
1.  enumerate
2.  countoff
3.  indexed
4.  itercount

OTOH, no one has ever accused me of having good taste <wink>

Raymond Hettinger