iterators (was: python-dev summary)

Donn Cave donn at oz.net
Sat Feb 17 06:56:25 CET 2001


Quoth amk at mira.erols.com (A.M. Kuchling):
| On 16 Feb 2001 18:55:27 GMT, Donn Cave <donn at u.washington.edu> wrote:
| >If it's a big step towards something useful, fine.  I have heard
|
| Agreed.  Some time ago I argued that once Unicode was added to Python
| 1.6, we should just stamp the language definition "done" and leave it
| alone.  Sure, we can add little tweaky features like iterators, but
| will they enable a startling new application domain?  Will they
| attract more users?  In both cases the answer is likely "no", so we
| should just write off the new features -- they might be nice, but why
| bother making books obsolete and making the code more bloated?
|
| I think I'll repeat the argument for 2.1: call the language as defined
| by the 2.1 docs the final version, and leave it alone.  Obviously you
| could still work on a faster interpreter, fix bugs in it, etc.  This
| means interfaces won't get implemented, which is unfortunate, but if
| you let in "just *one* more feature" it'll never stop.

I can't tell how serious you are, but that appeals to me.  There's
a lot to 2.1.  It's a big language with a lot of things to learn,
and everything you need to write great software.  It would be a
crime to load it down with unnecessary gimmicks, and yet it's all
too common for any software system to go just that way.  Maybe
universal.

Still, I think I wouldn't be in favor of a constitutional prohibition
on new features.  I can't say there's no room for Python to evolve,
it feels too much like the people who a century ago were convinced
that most everything of consequence was already known to science.
I would like to find the antidote for creeping featurism, though.
For Python, I guess that antidote is the BDFL, as Tim Peters observed
in another followup, and that works for me - it would be paradoxical
to say Python is the perfect language but we can't trust its creator's
judgement.  And since it's his baby anyway, who cares what we think.
Yet the development environment around Python has changed in recent
years, and I guess that's where we came in.

One thing I think would be worth some thought is a positive expression
of what we're thinking when we say "no thanks".  I mean, opposition
to features is the negative complement to a positive idea about Python,
about its elegance and power the way it is.  We don't get that out as
often or as articulately as maybe we could.

	Donn Cave, donn at oz.net



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