[Python-Dev] re: Tutorial: Brief Introduction to the Standard Libary

Arthur ajsiegel at optonline.net
Wed Dec 3 14:08:13 EST 2003

Michael writes -

>I don't want to be rude -- is English your first language? -- but I
>found this article to be written in particularly baroque prose. 

English first and only.  Same with Python.

But if I have your demographics correct, I am of a different era.

Baroque?  I prefer Dylan, actually,

>I'm not quite sure what your central point is.

I believe you.

>Well, I dunno.  If it was my decision, there's no way it would be
>mentioned in the built-ins

Or in the tutorial accompanying Python?  Which is what is under discussion. 

>No changes here in a long while.

I believe you again.

>I don't think it's unreasonable at all.  To me the copy module is
>something you only need when you really need it, then you go looking
>for it.

If you understand a) when you need it b) it exists.  Tutorial discussion. In
the negative, if you like. It exists, it does this, and if you think you
need it in a particular case are probably wrong, because...would serve my
purpose. Perfectly.

>Certainly, the failure to understand assignment and erroneous beliefs
>that the copy module is necessary in a given situation go hand in hand.

I don't think that view is inconsistent with anything I am asserting.

>Assignment in Python *isn't* particularly subtle, though.  My
>impression is that it's people from e.g. C who get tripped up here,
>not total newbies.

That assertion is, IMO, an overly convenient way to put the matter to bed.
It is an assertion with which I disagree. And I don't know who can claim
particular insight or expertise on this kind of issue, and on what basis.
Which is a problem.

I can promise you that a background slanted by C was not at work in my case.
It would be nice if it were.

>Another reason might just be that copy() is implemented in Python...

I prefer those kinds of reasons, than the newbies ones. Sound weighty and
beyond my ken.  The newbies ones don't. Sorry. 

>Have you ever used the copy module?  I am *not* a beginner, and have
>used it *once* (and I can't remember what for, either).

In my view, there are usually more convenient ways to accomplish what copy
is about, because you don't have to import copy.  And we are just in a
circular argument. And its use is discouraged, as a matter of style. More
circles.  But isn't it a harmless alternative, and a bit more explicit, in a
good deal of circumstances - arguably.

But I truly do understand that I may be missing something fundamental here.
Performance issues? Who knows what else. I'm afraid to find out, actually.


EuroPython: What do you like best about Python?

MH: I think, probably, the single biggest plus of Python is that it blurs
the distinction between using and programming a computer.

One of my favorite Python quotes of recent vintage, BTW.


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