Whitespace as syntax (was Re: Python Rocks!)

fcahoon at my-deja.com fcahoon at my-deja.com
Tue Feb 8 17:48:02 CET 2000


In article <1e5nkk6.1a5z8bp1lixbdvN%bparsia at email.unc.edu>,
  bparsia at email.unc.edu (Bijan Parsia) wrote:
> <fcahoon at my-deja.com> wrote:
>
> [snip]
> > I am not a Python user for this very reason, and I know many
developers
> > who are interested in the buzz about Python but when they hear
"Python
> > uses whitespace as syntax" refuse to touch it.
>
> Er... almost every language uses whitespace as syntax, usually for
token
> delimitation (is that the word?).

Ah, yes, good point.  But you know what I mean.  Cool.

> I think, notwithstanding your experience with C (though why that
should
> be applicable to Python...), *you* have a riddle to answer: There is a
> *lot* of Python code out there. The standard distribution contains
loads
> of modules from many different sources. You *yourself* indicate that
> Python is becoming common place....

The popularity of a language cannot be taken as prima facie evidence of
its technical superiority.  Consider Perl.  The number of modules
available for Perl on CPAN is positively mind-boggling.  Does this mean
that Perl must necessarily be a superior language?

>  [ ... ]
>
> > If python code were to become mis-formatted (and given my
experience, I
> > have to believe that sooner or later this _will_ happen)
>
> Er...not your experience of *Python* code, right? So, your experience
> with Python code: 0. Everyone elses: >0 (some up to, what, 8 years? 10
> years?). I think it more correct that your *lack* of (relevant)
> experience leads you to your belief.

It's true that my experience writing python can, for practical purposes,
be called 0 here.  However, I think it is a mistake to consider the
posters responding to me to be representative of people with experience
with python.  Already, among the majority of posts from people who find
that indentation-as-syntax is not a problem, several people _with_
python experience who believe indentation-as-syntax _is_ a problem have
spoken.  They indicate that they still use python, because its
advantages outweigh this significant (to them) disadvantage.  This leads
one to wonder: how large is the population who have used python
seriously, but found indentation-as-syntax to be too large of a problem,
and now use different languages?  Surely, they are not here to be
counted.

f


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