Thoughts about extensions to the Python language

Tim Rowe digitig at cix.co.uk
Sun Mar 18 23:35:00 CET 2001


In article <mailman.984608060.6280.python-list at python.org>, 
carribeiro at yahoo.com (Carlos Ribeiro) wrote:

> (flames off please ...)
> 
> First of all, some background information... I'm watching this list for 
> the past few days. Thats my first contribution to the list. I work on 
> computer related jobs for some time (since 1984), and I have saw a lot 
> of things in the past decade or so. I'm learning Python since mid-2000, 
> mainly for use as a tool to gather network management information.
> 
> What attracted me to Python was the simplicity and cleanliness of the 
> language. Code written in Python is as clean as code can be. I have 
> written systems using several other languages, including C, C++ and 
> Perl, and none of these languages can even come close of Python in 
> terms of readability. I think that most people on this list will agree 
> with me that making code readable is one of the most important (and 
> relegated) steps to improve programming skills.
> 
> I'm not saying that Python is perfect - as a "work in progress" we can 
> surely think about a lot of things that can be improved. However, I'm 
> seeing a lot of effort these days toward language extensions. Call it 
> "featuritis" or anything like it, but I dont like it, and something 
> inside tells me that this is the wrong approach for Python's evolution. 
> I can number several ways this approach is failed:

<snip>

[Applause].

This has been worrying me a lot, as /almost/ every suggested "improvement" 
I see:

a. Is an import from a language I have already rejected in favour of 
Python (at least when I'm programming Python) and

b. Muddies the clarity of the language.

If people /really/ want these features, could they put them into a new 
language /based/ on Python, please, so that those of us happy with Python 
can carry on undisturbed (just as most of us using Modula2 ignored 
Modula3)? I suggest the name "Monty", as I see it as a retrograde step!

I'm not against development of the language -- the set inclusion operators 
look fine to me, and I've been known to use them (admittedly in an 
unofficial obfusticated code competition!) but if a feature doesn't fit 
easily within the present language philosophy (dummy includes to 
change the semantics of the language, anyone?) then I venture to suggest 
that the feature probably doesn't belong in Python, and that the great and 
good should rethink what they're trying to achieve and come up with 
features that do it the /Python/ way!

<underwear material='asbestos'/>



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