[Python-Dev] *Simpler* string substitutions

Guido van Rossum guido@python.org
Fri, 21 Jun 2002 08:59:47 -0400

> But his biggest remaining "general peeve" struck me hard the other
> day, exactly because that's not something he "heard", but an
> observation he came up with all by himself, by reasonably unbiased
> examination of "Python as she's spoken".  "I wouldn't mind Python so
> much" (I'm paraphrasing, but that IS the kind of grudging-compliment
> understatement he did use:-) "except that there's always so MANY
> deuced ways to do everything -- can't they just pick one and STICK
> with it?!".  In the widespread subtext of most Python discourse this
> might sound like irony, but in his case, it was just an issue of
> fact (compared, remember, with SMALL languages such as Limbo --
> bloated ones such as, e.g., C++, are totally *outside* his purvey
> and experience) -- a bewildering array of possible variations.
> Surely inevitable when viewed diachronically (==as an evolution over
> time), but his view, like that of anybody who comes to Python anew
> today, is synchronic (==a snapshot at one moment).
> I don't think there's anything we can do to AVOID this phenomenon,
> of course, but right now I'm probably over-sensitized to the
> "transition costs" of introducing "yet one more way to do it" by
> this recent episode.  So, it appears to me that REDUCING the
> occurrence of such perceptions is important.

AFAIK Limbo has a very small user base (and its key designer is much
more arrogant than your average BDFL even :-).  It's much easier to
withstand the pressure to add features in that case.  And lately, most
new features have been better ways to do things you could already do,
but only clumsily.  That would add to his impressions.  Plus,
inevitably, that not everybody at Strakt uses the same coding style.

I understand the sentiment, but users are like this: they all want you
to stop adding features except the one thing they absolutely need.

--Guido van Rossum (home page: http://www.python.org/~guido/)