[Python-ideas] A PEP to define basical metric which allows to guarantee minimal code quality

Nick Coghlan ncoghlan at gmail.com
Wed Sep 20 21:32:26 EDT 2017

On 21 September 2017 at 10:51, Ned Batchelder <ned at nedbatchelder.com> wrote:
> Write a document that proposes some quality metrics. Share it around. Get
> people to like it. If it becomes popular, then people will start to value it
> as a standard for project quality.

And explore the academic literature for research on quality measures
that are actually predictors of real world benefits (e.g. readability,
maintainability, correctness, affordability).

There doesn't seem to be all that much research out there, although I
did find https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-642-12165-4_24
from several years ago, as well as
http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7809284/ from last year (both are
examples of pay-to-play science though, so not particularly useful to
open source practitioners).

Regardless, Ned's point still stands: the PEP process only applies to
situations where the CPython core developers (or a closely associated
group like the Python Packaging Authority) are the relevant global
authorities on a topic. Even PEP 7 and PEP 8 are technically only the
style guides for the CPython reference implementation - folks just
borrow them as the baseline style guides for their own Python

"Which characteristics of Python code are useful predictors of the
ability to deliver software projects to specification on time and
within budget?" (the most pragmatic definition of "software quality")
is *not* one of those areas - for that, you'd be more looking towards
groups like IEEE (Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers) and
ACM (Association for Computing Machinery), who study that kind of
thing across multiple languages and language communities, and try to
put some empirical weight behind their findings, rather than relying
primarily on instinct and experience (which is the way we tend to do
things in the open source community, since it's more fun, and less


Nick Coghlan   |   ncoghlan at gmail.com   |   Brisbane, Australia

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