More random python observations from a perl programmer

Skip Montanaro skip at
Thu Aug 19 13:50:11 EDT 1999

    : There are 'raw' strings though, 'r"<string>"', that dont do
    : backslashes.

    Tom> Those aren't the book, and there are no manpages.  Therefore, in
    Tom> many ways, they don't really count.  I know it hurts to hear this,
    Tom> and you're all going to jump on me, but please please think about
    Tom> it for a bit before you do so.


You assume the only two proper places to put documentation are in man pages
or in Mark Lutz's book.  Mark's a fine person and wrote a great book, but it
was written when Python 1.4 was the current version.  Raw strings are new
with 1.5.  Was the Camel book always in sync with Perl?  If it was, then
more power to ya.  Perhaps you can share your synchronization secrets with
Mark and Guido.  The Camel book I have documents Perl 4 (so I guess Perl 5
doesn't count).

As for man pages, they aren't the only valid way to document reference
material.  Most Windows and Mac people wouldn't even know what you were
talking about.  From what I can tell by traffic on c.l.p, the bulk of the
Python user base uses Windows these days anyway, so man pages are probably
not a good first choice of documentation format, being largely unavailable
to the unwashed masses.  HTML seems to be pretty ubiquitous these days,

As others have pointed out, the library and language reference manuals (and
the tutorial and a fairly good collection of demo scripts) are available as
part of Python's distribution.  If you have a web browser, a dvi viewer or
PostScript previewer and the appropriate tools to build them, you can browse
them.  If you haven't got the build tools (unlike Perl Python requires a few
non-Python tools - like TeX and latex2html - to build the docs), you can
view them online or download pre-built copies from the Python website.

Is everything in Python's documentation space as complete as the equivalent
Perl docs?  No, and for the forseeable future that will probably be the
case.  I suppose that might make Python less attractive in some people's
eyes.  I view it simply that Python isn't as far along the path to
completion as Perl.

Skip Montanaro	|
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