[Python-ideas] List Revolution

Jakob Bowyer jkbbwr at gmail.com
Sat Sep 10 12:24:14 CEST 2011

Im dead confused. Is this a joke? Or are we actually switching to index-1
based lists like Lua? Because I like index-0.

On Sat, Sep 10, 2011 at 11:08 AM, Matt Joiner <anacrolix at gmail.com> wrote:

> Well it makes complete sense to me. Furthermore, Python even properly
> supports the style of conditional he uses. a <= b < c IS a great way
> to do things. 0 based indexing IS right for computing. Not sure if
> you're trolling or I'm not counter-trolling... -.-
> EWD is the man. Dutch programmers in decades to come have a lot to live up
> to.
> On Sat, Sep 10, 2011 at 2:10 PM, Carl Matthew Johnson
> <cmjohnson.mailinglist at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > On Sep 9, 2011, at 3:32 PM, Matt Joiner wrote:
> >
> >> Recommended reading:
> >> http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/EWD/transcriptions/EWD08xx/EWD831.html
> >
> > The reasoning in this letter is so terrible. Why do people quote this
> whenever this comes up? "We should start lists at 0 because when writing
> for-loops the <= look goofy otherwise." Why on earth should Pythonistas care
> what the for-loops are like when we only have for-each loops! It's crazy.
> >
> > Look, EWD was a good computer scientist (=MATHEMATICIAN), but he was
> terrible when it comes to the ART of programming language design. There's no
> reason to think that being a good mathematician would make one also good at
> designing a user interface, and that's what a programming language is--a
> user interface for highly advanced users. Other than "Go To Considered
> Harmful" everything I've read of his about programming has been wrong.
> (Correctness proofs, really?) And much of that wrongness stems from EWD's
> false belief that programming should be the same as math.
> >
> > Now, as it happens, I don't think we should change to using 1 (although I
> do note that Lua gets along fine with it). But the reason not to change is
> because 0 is a well entrenched standard so most programmers are more used to
> it than to 1. In other words, it's the standard because in UI design you
> stick with what your users will expect. It has nothing to do with some
> arcane mathematician's gobbledygook writings about greater than and less
> than signs. Programming language design is the art of making something that
> helps humans work more efficiently, not some pure mathematics descended from
> Platonic heaven.
> >
> > Sorry to rant, but that article always comes up and so I have grudge
> against EWD.
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> >
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