[Python-Dev] IDLE in the stdlib

Terry Reedy tjreedy at udel.edu
Thu Mar 21 12:03:32 CET 2013

On 3/21/2013 5:41 AM, Paul Moore wrote:
> On 21 March 2013 06:54, Devin Jeanpierre <jeanpierreda at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Thu, Mar 21, 2013 at 2:42 AM, Terry Reedy <tjreedy at udel.edu> wrote:
>>> I think being frozen in the late 1990s is better than being frozen in the
>>> early 1980s, like Command Prompt is. In fact, I think we should 'deprecate'
>>> the Command Prompt interpreter as the standard interactive interpreter and
>>> finish polishing and de-glitching IDLE's Python Shell, which runs on top of
>>> the windowless version of CP with a true GUI. Then we can promote and
>>> present the latter as the preferred interface, which for many people, it
>>> already is.

I should have prefaced that with 'on Windows'. I presume the command 
line on *nix is better with most of the issues I discussed than on Windows.

>> Please don't cease supporting the command line interface.

My one person opinion and counter-proposal is not going to change 
anything. Anyway, my two points were this: if late 1990s is bad, isn't 
early 1980s worse? And *if* we are going to one downplay/demote of the 
two interactive shells, should not it be the worse one?

 >> I use the
>> command line interactive interpreter plenty. That way I can use git,
>> grep, the unit test suite, etc. ... and the interactive interpreter,
>> all from one place: the console.
>> That can't happen with IDLE, by design.

It is Microsoft, not me, that is a threat to Command Prompt. I have the 
impression that it is not part of the Win 8 not-Metro tablet interface 
that they would like everyone to use even on the desktop. To push 
beginners away from the desktop to the pane interface, they were 
initially going to limit the free Visual Express IDE and compilers to 
the new interface.

You can use idle from the command line almost as easily as the CP 
interpreter: 'python -m idlelib' instead of just 'python' (I just tried 
it to verify). Unlike bare 'python', IDLE includes a grep. Right click 
on any 'hit' and it opens the file at the specified line. Unlike bare 
'python', you can run tests and collect the all the output, from as many 
tests as you want, in a dynamically right-sized buffer.

> Agreed. Command line Python is 100% of my usage, and removing it would
> make Python unusable for me.

Whereas others would say the same about removing IDLE.

> If what is being suggested is removing the "Python Command Line"
> *shortcuts*

I did not suggest that.

> those shortcuts (and if I did, I could set them up myself). But before
> removing them, why not consider setting the defaults to be more
> helpful (larger scrollback buffer, things like quick edit set on, etc)
> if that's the real issue here? I'm not saying it is, but some of the
> complaints about "the default experience" *can* be fixed simply by
> changing the defaults.

If that is so easily possible, then it should have been done already.

Terry Jan Reedy

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