[Python-ideas] PEP: Shorthand Symbol for "self"

Russ Paielli russ.paielli at gmail.com
Mon Aug 25 00:43:28 CEST 2008


I have written a PEP, and I was warned by none other than Mr. Van Rossum
himself that it would be controversial at best. Well, here goes anyway.

First, let me introduce myself. I am an aerospace engineer, and I am using
Python to develop a research prototype of a conflict alerting aid for air
traffic controllers. It is intended to replace the current legacy system
which has been operational since the 1970s. I have also developed a free
Python package to represent physical scalars in a unique manner that can be
as efficient as built-in numeric types. I am using it extensively in my
conflict alerting aid. You can read about it in the current edition of The
Python Papers at http://pythonpapers.org or on my website at
http://RussP.us/scalar.htm .

Now to the PEP. Let me start by saying that I fully understand the history
and controversy regarding the explicit use of "self" in Python. I am not
going to say that it was a mistake, nor am I going to say that the first
argument of a class instance method should not refer to the instance for
which it is called. What I will say is that I think Python syntax could be
significantly simplified with the simple little convention that I am
proposing. All I ask is that you carefully read my proposal before you
reply. Thank you.

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