[Python-Dev] Docs of weak stdlib modules should encourage exploration of 3rd-party alternatives

Jim J. Jewett jimjjewett at gmail.com
Mon Mar 19 20:12:20 CET 2012

In http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2012-March/117570.html
Steven D'Aprano posted:

> "Need" is awfully strong. I don't believe it is the responsibility
> of the standard library to be judge and reviewer of third party
> packages that it doesn't control.

It is, however, user-friendly to indicate when the stdlib selections
are particularly likely to be for reasons other than "A bunch of
experts believe this is the best way to do this."  Cpython's
documentation is (de facto) the documentation for python in
general, and pointing people towards other resources (particularly
pypi itself) is quite reasonable.

Many modules are in the stdlib in part because they are an *acceptable*
way of doing something, and the "best" ways are either changing too
quickly or are so complicated that it doesn't make sense to burden
the *standard* libary for specialist needs.  In those cases, I do
think the documentation should say so.  

Specific examples:

    http://docs.python.org/library/numeric.html quite reasonably has
    subsections only for what ships with Python.  But I think the
    introductory paragraph could stand to have an extra sentence
    explaining why and when people should look beyond the stanard
    library, such as:

        Applications centered around mathematics may benefit from
        specialist 3rd party libraries, such as
        numpy < http://pypi.python.org/pypi/numpy/ >,
        gmpy < http://pypi.python.org/pypi/gmpy >, and
        scipy< http://pypi.python.org/pypi/scipy >.

    I would add a similar sentence to the web section, or the
    internet protocols section if web is still not broken out
    separately.  http://docs.python.org/dev/library/internet.html

        Note that some web conventions are still evolving too quickly
        for covenient encapsulation in a stable library.  Many
        applications will therefore prefer functional replacements
        from third parties, such as requests or httplib2, or
        frameworks such as Django and Zope.  www-related products
        can be found by browsing PyPI for top internet subtopic www/http.
        < http://pypi.python.org/pypi?:action=browse&c=319&c=326 >

[I think that searching by classifier -- which first requires browse,
and can't be reached from the list of classifiers -- could be improved.]

> Should we recommend wxPython over Pyjamas or PyGUI or PyGtk?

Actually, I think the existing http://docs.python.org/library/othergui.html
does a pretty good job; I would not object to adding mentions of
other tools as well, but wiki reference is probably sufficient.



If there are still threading problems with my replies, please 
email me with details, so that I can try to resolve them.  -jJ

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