Self Nanny

Gaetan Corneau corg at
Tue Mar 7 15:10:55 CET 2000

> I'd be willing to bet you that you can't find more than a handful of
> people in the world who would reject or avoid Python because of the
> explict "self". 

I suppose so: I didn't. But it was a gotcha, and everyone to whom I have
taught Python (most, but not all were C++ programmers) fell in the same

> Be honest: how many people do you really know (C++
> programmers or otherwise) who would gladly start using Python if only
> it didn't require an explicit "self"?

None, I suppose. But the guys who learned Python with me found the language
very intuitive except for that part. Maybe my sampling of programmers is not
representative of the whole newbie population, but I'd like to be sure of
that :)

> You only want to discuss *your* preferences and no one else's?

I'm sorry, I really meant "I don't say you are not right". I didn't mean "I
want to talk of my point of view, not yours". English is not my mother
tongue, and that causes me trouble sometimes.

> As far as I'm concerned, whether there is an explict
> self-like argument in method calls as in Python, or an implicit
> this-like variable as in C++ is almost completely irrelevant to
> anything that I would consider to be important to users of the
> languages, be they novices or experts or anywhere in between.

I understand your point of view, but I have some doubts about "completely
irrelevant to anything that I would consider to be important to users of the
languages, be they novices".

> Are the large numbers of expensive person-hours needed to change all
> the legacy Python code out there really worth making an alteration in
> the language which would upset a large number of existing users, and
> at best satisfy a tiny percentage of the others?
> I say no.

Good point.

> As I suggested in my earlier post, perhaps you should invent your own
> Python-like language that manages 'self' differently in method calls.
> Then, your ideas about the implictness of 'self' would have much more
> of a chance of being taken seriously.

I repeat: *I* don't care about "self". I have been programming long enough
with Python to forget to use it.

Whew! This discussion is heating up. It reminds me when I made the mistake
of joining a discussion on Compuserve with fellow americans about gun
control (I am in favor, and my friends weren't ;)

Have a nice day,
   Gaetan Corneau
   Software Developer 
   Copernic Technologies inc.
   E-mail: corg at                         
"Tu l'as trop écrasé, César, ce Port Salut"

Version: 3.1
GCS/B/MU d- s+:++ a C++ 
UL+ P--- W+ N- K- W++ t-- 
!5 X- R+ tv-- b++ DI++ 
G e++ h---- r+++ y++++

More information about the Python-list mailing list