[Python-ideas] A comprehension scope issue in PEP 572

Ryan Gonzalez rymg19 at gmail.com
Sun May 6 22:26:19 EDT 2018

On May 6, 2018 8:41:26 PM Tim Peters <tim.peters at gmail.com> wrote:

> In a different thread I noted that I sometimes want to write code like this:
>     while any(n % p == 0 for p in small_primes):
>         # divide p out - but what's p?
> But generator expressions hide the value of `p` that succeeded, so I
> can't.  `any()` and `all()` can't address this themselves - they
> merely work with an iterable of objects to evaluate for truthiness,
> and know nothing about how they're computed.  If you want to identify
> a witness (for `any()` succeeding) or a counterexample (for `all()`
> failing), you need to write a workalike loop by hand.

Couldn't you just do:

def first(it):
    return next(it, None)

while (item := first(p for p in small_primes if n % p == 0)):
    # ...

IMO for pretty much anything more complex, it should probably be a loop in 
its own function.

> So would this spelling work using binding expressions?
>     while any(n % (thisp := p) == 0 for p in small_primes):
>         n //= thisp
> I'm not entirely clear from what the PEP says, but best guess is "no",
> from this part of the discussion[1]:
> """
> It would be convenient to use this feature to create rolling or
> self-effecting data streams:
>     progressive_sums = [total := total + value for value in data]
> This will fail with UnboundLocalError due to total not being
> initalized. Simply initializing it outside of the comprehension is
> insufficient - unless the comprehension is in class scope: ...
> """
> So, in my example above, I expect that `thisp` is viewed as being
> local to the created-by-magic lexically nested function implementing
> the generator expression.  `thisp` would be bound on each iteration,
> but would vanish when `any()` finished and the anonymous function
> vanished with it.  I'd get a NameError on "n //= thisp" (or pick up
> whatever object it was bound to before the loop).
> I have a long history of arguing that magically created lexically
> nested anonymous functions try too hard to behave exactly like
> explicitly typed lexically nested functions, but that's the trendy
> thing to do so I always lose ;-)  The problem:  in a magically created
> nested function, you have no possibility to say _anything_ about
> scope; at least when you type it by hand, you can add `global` and/or
> `nonlocal` declarations to more-or-less say what you want.
> Since there's no way to explicitly identify the desired scope, I
> suggest that ":=" inside magically created nested functions do the
> more-useful-more-often thing:  treat the name being bound as if the
> binding had been spelled in its enclosing context instead.  So, in the
> above, if `thisp` was declared `global`, also `global` in the genexp;
> if `nonlocal`, also `nonlocal`; else (almost always the case in real
> life) local to the containing code (meaning it would be local to the
> containing code, but nonlocal in the generated function).
> Then my example would work fine, and the PEP's would too just by adding
>     total = 0
> before it.
> Funny:  before `nonlocal` was added, one of the (many) alternative
> suggestions was that binding a name in an enclosing scope use ":="
> instead of "=".
> No, I didn't have much use for `for` target names becoming magically
> local to invisible nested functions either, but I appreciate that it's
> less surprising overall.  Using ":=" is much more strongly screaming
> "I'm going way out of my way to give a name to this thing, so please
> don't fight me by assuming I need to be protected from the
> consequences of what I explicitly asked for".
> [1] https://www.python.org/dev/peps/pep-0572/
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Ryan (ライアン)
Yoko Shimomura, ryo (supercell/EGOIST), Hiroyuki Sawano >> everyone else

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