<> vs. != (was Re: [Python-Dev] deprecating string module)

Peter Funk pf@artcom-gmbh.de
Wed, 29 May 2002 19:03:05 +0200 (CEST)


Guido van Rossum:
> >    Agree :) I don't understand what is wrong with <> syntax.
> It's cumbersome to have to support two different spellings for no good
> reason.  (It's different for "..." and '...' strings, where there's a
> good reason to have both, namely embedding the other type of quote.)

People want keep both.  I believe this is a very good reason to keep both.  
Since it was there for over a decade, I can't see anything "cumbersome".

> Even people who are used to <> can learn to type !=.

Of course.  But people don't want to change their habits.

On Oct 20th, 1991 you decided to put '!=' in as an alternative
to '<>'.  I guess you did this to please people coming from C 
to feel more familar and to attract them to Python.  That was fine.
Using <> mixed != together didn't hurt readability much during the
past decade.

After all Python is still a very clean language and what lately was
called "piled cruft" here in python-dev is largely overestimated.

The complexity introduced by the deprecation warning stuff just to deal
with future feature removal stuff can also be seen as "cruft" or "bloat" 
on its own:  nnorwitz just fixed a >>> dir(__builtin__) screen shot
in the Python tutorial to add 'PendingDeprecationWarning' there.

I always tend to mispell this as depreciation... 

Is it really good PR for Python to point new users noses in the Tutorial 
to anything they learn may pend to deprecation?

These deprecation warnings seem to fullfill one main purpose:
to have some lame excuse, that when some dump user installs a new
Python version somewhere and breaks a system deployed 4 years ago,
that wasn't updated since than.  In the industry people tend to run
systems a lot longer than two, three or four of your releases cycles.

Regards, Peter
Peter Funk, Oldenburger Str.86, D-27777 Ganderkesee, Germany, Fax:+49 4222950260
office: +49 421 20419-0 (ArtCom GmbH, Grazer Str.8, D-28359 Bremen, Germany)