PEP scepticism

Bernhard Reiter bernhard at
Thu Jun 28 10:47:19 EDT 2001

This a general warning against the second system syndrom in Python.

Maybe I am a hypocritical sceptic, but I have the impression that
some feeping creatureism is introduced into Python.
This might reduce the main advantage of Python to be clear and easy
and mostly have one good formulation on how to express what you want
to program in a structured way.

Examples are:
	- augmented Assigments
	- Lists comprehensions
	- Simple Generators

To me it looks like these contructs do not add capabilities to
python which were missing. They seems to be rare cases in which I
prefer that the programmer got to have the overview anyway and
should use a longer version which is more explicit and explains more
about what is actually being done. The new syntatic additions still
require that the programmer has a full understanding about what is going on.
On the other the sum of language constructs is growing and harder to
understand as a complete system.

Please to not respond giving me the very good reasons on why these
features I have given as examples have been added or will be added
to python. I know that the reasons are well worked out and make sense.
You can easily convince me as I have to admit that I do not have the
time to follow all the arguments and work out my opinion.
On the other hand this is excatly the danger I want to warn you about.
It is a social reason for being careful:

	Participation in the PEP debates about Python-enchancements 
	requires a certain level of knowledge and interest 
	about computer language design. 

It is most likely that the participants 
do understand complicated language constructs easily and 
are python wizards. They might just not see how the addition
of syntatic sugar will lead to a higher learning curve for the masses.

(And we are missing the ability to make usability tests for these
kind of features because it is very hard to show and would require
tests with many programmers over long test periods.)

Mainly as a python user I urge you to take this into consideration.

ps.: I have similiar thoughts about some recent strategic
development ideas for Zope. Python and Zope both have 2.x version
number, please fight the 2nd system syndrom. :)

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