[Python-Dev] Re: PEP 318: Decorators last before colon

Guido van Rossum guido at python.org
Mon Apr 5 12:43:30 EDT 2004

> What people find readable depends mostly on what they are used to. The 
> reason Python is "so readable" on first read is because it rips off so 
> much syntax directly from C, the language that is the ancestor for all 
> of the other languages people use today.

Bizarre.  I think most of the readability actually comes from places
where I *didn't* rip off C, in particular Python's syntax for block
structure, lists and dicts, and the lack of anything resembling C's
abomination passing for type declarations (an mistake admitted by its

Just goes to show that taste differs. :)

> C doesn't have function decorators so people don't have expectations
> for them. But they will when they start coming over from C# and Java
> 1.5 in two or three years. One virtue of Guido's proposal is that it
> is basically what C# does. Java uses a pretty different syntax but
> it is also a prefix syntax. If Python uses a postfix syntax it will
> probably be alone in making that choice.

That's exactly Jim Hugunin's argument for this syntax.

> I'm not saying that Python has to do what the other languages do
> because they do it, but all else equal, being familiar is better
> than being idiosyncratic (i.e. different for no good reason). So I
> would rank "like C# and Java" higher than "fits my personal
> aesthetics in early 2004" because aesthetics are likely to drift
> towards C# and Java over time.

Anyway, personal aesthetics are learned behavior, like it or not.

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

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