A Suggestion for Python Colon Syntax

Tim Peters tim.one at home.com
Thu Dec 28 01:14:38 CET 2000


[billtj at my-deja.com]
> Tim, people opinion can change over time,

You apparently haven't met Guido yet <wink>.

> and hopefully Python does not have the principle that once a
> feature is already decided, it can never be changed.  I think
> to survive, a language has to be flexible to follow (rapidly)
> changing technology and therefore modify some of its own
> characteristics.

Bill, I spent too much time arguing about this already.  You may not realize
it, but you have too <wink>.  You should be able to tell from the
overwhelming lack of other response on the newsgroup that there's no
groundswell of desire (for making trailing colons optional) being suppressed
here!  It's not a new suggestion, and it's never been a popular one.  If you
want to put it to a vote, ya, it would lose.  Write a PEP if you like, but
I'm not putting more time into this unless and until there is a PEP (a prime
purpose of the PEP process is to stop endlessly repetitive newsgroup
debates).

Just one gloss:

> ...
> Guido does, but shouldn't we take also the opinions of the
> community?  I don't like to make this analogy, but in the
> history, there were/are communities ruled by kings, and there
> communities ruled by democracy.  Which one works better for
> the welfare of the community?

Guido is often called "the BDFL" here.  That stands for Benevolent Dictator
For Life.  Python design is in fact a dictatorship, and that's widely
perceived as one of Python's greatest strengths:  it gives the language an
internal coherence that committee designs rarely achieve (and, sorry, but
you haven't used Python long enough to judge this yet).  It also gives us
some of Guido's charming idiosyncrasies, but the trick is to view those *as*
charming <wink>.

Note that Guido isn't telling you where to live or how many children you can
have or what ratio of genders they must be.  He's just saying "here's my
language -- feel free to use it!".  Most of us are delighted to.

while-the-rest-plot-against-his-life<wink>-ly y'rs  - tim





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