[Python-Dev] Minor ConfigParser Change

Fred L. Drake, Jr. fdrake at acm.org
Fri Jun 1 23:08:45 CEST 2007

On Friday 01 June 2007, BJörn Lindqvist wrote:
 > Patches are applied once, but thousands of people read the code in the
 > standard library each month. The standard library should be as
 > readable as possible to make it as easy as possible to maintain. It is
 > just good software development methodology.

Rest assured, I understand your sentiment here, and am not personally against 
an occaissional clean-up.  ConfigParser in particular is old and highly 

 > Many parts of the standard library are arcane and almost impossible to
 > understand (see httplib for example) because refactoring changes are
 > Not done. So if someone wants to improve the code why not let them?

Changes in general are a source of risk; they have to be considered carefully.  
We've seen too many cases in which a change was thought to be safe, but broke 
something for someone.  Avoiding style-only changes helps avoid introducing 
problems without being able to predict them; there are tests for 
ConfigParser, but it's hard to be sure every corner case has been covered.

This is a general policy in the Python project, not simply my preference.  I'd 
love to be able to say "yes, the code is painful to read, let's make it 
nicer", but it's hard to say that without being able to say "I'm sure it 
won't break anything for anybody."  Python's too flexible for that to be 


Fred L. Drake, Jr.   <fdrake at acm.org>

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