Changing the Division Operator -- PEP 238, rev 1.12

Paul Prescod paulp at
Tue Jul 31 00:07:19 EDT 2001

Arthur_Siegel at wrote:
> Isn't it clear that  the thread that it is all quite necessary  to  meet the
> programming
> language specification requirements of people who don't actually program  (is
> there
> another definition of non-programmer that I am missing) - is an incitement,
> not an explanation.

Two issues:

 * the real target for the newbie-friendliness is new programmers not
non-programmers. A language that is good for new programmers has a lot
of rules that they can easily remember and few pitfalls that they have
to store away in their heads.

 * if newbie-friendliness were the only issue, it would be probably not
enough. But even competent programmers can make non-robust code if there
is a big gap between the division statement and the provision of an
integer where a float is expected -- and even if there is NOT a big gap.

Python's slicing rule is ALSO not very newbie friendly at first. But
slicing is done so often and the rule is relatively easy to remember. In
the long run it very seldom causes bugs. Division is not like that in my

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