[Python-ideas] Modern language design survey for "assign and compare" statements

Guido van Rossum guido at python.org
Mon May 21 21:45:36 EDT 2018

I don't know what to do with this thread. I enjoyed reading Mike's survey
of what other languages do. I also enjoyed Chris's survey of what some
other languages do. Then the thread veered off into several unproductive
directions at once: a mini-tutorial for Rebol (or Red?), and endless
bickering about which list of languages to allow in the survey.

But that's not how this stuff gets decided. It's not the case that if we
find that 90% of languages surveyed don't have inline assignment that means
Python should not have it either. So changing the criteria for inclusion in
the survey is entirely unproductive (except in that it may create a strong
bonding experience between participants in the discussion -- though in this
case perhaps the forces involved may be better described as repulsion than
attraction :-).

*Perhaps* it would help if we could ask those languages' designers for
their rationale (most of them are still alive :-). But nobody proposed
that. And it probably wouldn't help  either, because the answers of actual
language designers for such questions are typically a mixture of strongly
held opinion on issues that aren't decidable based on hard facts alone, and
hard but incredibly subtle facts related to the rest of the language's
design and implementation (including the state of tooling and the structure
of the compiler used as a reference implementation).

So let's just end this thread.

--Guido van Rossum (python.org/~guido)
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