[Python-Dev] PEP 215 redux: toward a simplified consensus?

Skip Montanaro skip@pobox.com
Mon, 25 Feb 2002 16:01:53 -0600

    BAW> There's been no usability testing yet to know whether $-strings
    BAW> actually will be easier to use <wink>, but I've got plenty of
    BAW> anecdotal evidence that %-strings suck badly for useability by
    BAW> non-Python programmers.

I presume your anecdotal evidence comes from Mailman.  If you have a pair of
functions that implement the %-to-$-to-% transformation and can catch the
missing 's' problem automatically (is that the biggest problem non-
programmers have?), then why not just use this in Mailman and be done with
the problem?  In fact, why not just document Mailman so that "%(var)" is the
correct form and silently add the "missing" 's' in your transformation step?

That %-strings suck for Mailman administrators does not mean they
necessarily suck for programmers.  The two populations obviously overlap
somewhat, but not tremendously.  I have never had a problem with
%-strings, certainly not with omitting the trailing 's'.  Past experience
with printf() doesn't obviously pollute the sample population too much
either, since the %(var)s type of format is not supported by printf().

    BAW> Still, if $-strings are better for non-programmers, maybe they're
    BAW> better for programmers too.  There's certainly evidence that
    BAW> translators get them wrong too.

What do you mean by "translators"?