[Python-Dev] syntactic support for sets

Greg Wilson gvwilson at cs.utoronto.ca
Thu Feb 2 02:55:38 CET 2006

> Like many things in Python where people pre-emptively believe one thing
> or another, the interpreter's corrective feedback is immediate:

Yup, that's the theory; it's a shame practice is different.

> Once the students have progressed beyond academic finger drills and have
> started writing real code, have you observed a shift in emphasis away
> from hard-coded literals and towards something like s=set(data) where
> the data is either read-in from outside the script or generated by
> another part of the program?

The problem is that once people classify something as "hard" or "fragile",
they (consciously or unconsciously) avoid it thereafter, which of course
means that it doesn't get any easier or more robust, since they're not
practicing it.  This has been observed in many arenas, not just
programming.  I agree it's not a compelling reason to add set notation to
the language, but I'd rather eliminate the sand traps than reuqire people
to learn to recognize and avoid them.


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