Curious assignment behaviour

John W. Baxter jwbaxter at spamcop.net
Wed Oct 10 16:49:55 CEST 2001


In article <mailman.1002693010.16254.python-list at python.org>, Tim
Peters <tim.one at home.com> wrote:

> It only takes one of those to sour you on the idea for life.

In my case, that event was receiving some C code from a former boss. He
had looked at the assembly output from a problem area of code and was
wondering why the (early C compiler for Intel 8080) was storing a 0
into memory and then immediately reading the value out and checking
whether it was 0*.  Indeed, I spotted
   if (a = 0) ...

It wasn't long before I started--along with many others--turning
examples with a literal constant around, producing the uglier but safer
   if (0 == a) ...
sort of thing.

I don't want to see Python go down this road.

*  Can't trust that darn RAM!...which was somewhat true in the late
1970s.

  --John



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