[Python-Dev] Best practice for documentation for std lib

Steven D'Aprano steve at pearwood.info
Sun Sep 22 14:53:23 CEST 2013

On Sun, Sep 22, 2013 at 10:20:46AM +0200, Antoine Pitrou wrote:
> On Sun, 22 Sep 2013 13:13:04 +1000
> Steven D'Aprano <steve at pearwood.info> wrote:
> > Hi all,
> > 
> > I have a question about how I should manage documentation for the 
> > statistics module for Python 3.4. At the moment, I have extensive 
> > docstrings in the module itself. I don't believe anyone has flagged that 
> > as "too much information" in a code review, so I'm going to assume that 
> > large docstrings will be acceptable.
> Related question: do the extensive docstrings make "help(stats)"
> painful to browse through?

Not to me. I can page through help(statistics) with 18 presses of the 
space bar, versus 20 for random or 45 for unittest. (29 lines per page.)

Admittedly statistics has fewer functions/classes than random, but I 
find that fewer, larger pieces of documentation are easier to read than 
lots of tiny one-line mentions that don't actually tell you anything. 
E.g. from unittest:

     |  Methods defined here:
     |  __init__(self, stream, descriptions, verbosity)
     |  addError(self, test, err)
     |  addExpectedFailure(self, test, err)
     |  addFailure(self, test, err)
     |  addSkip(self, test, reason)

and so on for nearly a page. unittest is also packed with many, many 
one-line methods listed as deprecated.

I admit I'm a bit of a stats and maths junkie, I read stats text books 
for fun. So perhaps I'm not the best person to judge how much 
information is too much information. Comments to the tracker please:



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