[Python-ideas] Fwd: Make parenthesis optional in parameterless functions definitions

Steven D'Aprano steve at pearwood.info
Fri Apr 1 07:05:53 EDT 2016

On Fri, Apr 01, 2016 at 11:32:00AM +0200, Sven R. Kunze wrote:

> >However, Hypertalk, and other similar "XTalk" languages, do. Function
> >calls in Hypertalk generally have a long form and a short form. The long
> >form will be something like:
> >
> >   total = the sum of field "expenses"
> >
> >while the short form is the more familiar:
> >
> >   total = sum(field "expenses")
> >
> >
> >Although Hypercard only allowed the long form if there was exactly one
> >argument.
> >In Hypertalk, it worked very well. But I wouldn't think it would be a
> >good fit to Python.
> Interesting. I think I will have a look at Hypertalk. :)

Unfortunately, Hypertalk is long dead. Apple never quite understood why 
it was popular, or what to do with it. But it influenced the design of 
the WWW and Javascript, and it lives on in a couple of languages such as 
OpenXion and LiveCode:



(LiveCode has a booming user community, OpenXion is all but dead, but it 
works and lets you experiment with the language.)

If you have an old Classic Mac capable of running System 6 through 9 
(pre OS X), or an emulator for the same, then you might be able to run 
Hypercard, which was a sort of combined software development kit, 
Rolodex application, and IDE. Hypercard was the GUI to the Hypertalk 
language, and Hypertalk was the scripting language that controlled the 
Hypercard GUI.


> Why do you think it would not fit into Python?

Hypertalk's execution model, data model and syntax are all very 
different from Python's. Hypertalk was also linked very heavily to the 
GUI, which makes it a relatively weak fit with less specialised 
languages like Python.

But mostly, Python already has a standard syntax for calling functions:

value = function(arg)

There's no need to add a more verbose "the function of arg" syntax.


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