Why so few Python jobs?

brueckd at tbye.com brueckd at tbye.com
Mon Sep 24 22:16:09 CEST 2001


On Mon, 24 Sep 2001, Dave Swegen wrote:

> At my workplace python is viewed with extreme suspicion by the
> software engineering people for one simple reason: They're extremely
> suspicious of the indentation issue (see my earlier post on this).
> Apart from that they think it seems like a fine language. Ho hum. I'll
> get there in the end.

Ask them to name a modern programming language where indentation is *not*
significant. They'll bite and say, "Duh! Java, C, C++". Then counter by
saying, "So, in that language nobody has ever done:

while (i < 5)
  x++;
  y++;

or

if (i < 5);
  x++;

(considered to be "classic" bugs, no?). Or, ask them that if they'd
tolerate it if you wrote code like this:

void myfunc() {
  a++;
      b++;
c++;
d++;
e++;                 }

The fact of the matter is, in most modern languages indentation is already
significant to all parties *except* for the compiler (well, the parser).
That's also why those languages have the eternal religious debate of
"Where to put the opening brace?", e.g.-

void foo() {
  ...
}

versus

void foo()
{
  ...
}

Wow, look, the indentation is the same on both because *that's what really
matters to the people who read and write the code* Indentation is the
first and most important indicator of block structure, followed by a very
distant 2nd place contestant, the block delimiters, which is why people
commit those "classic" bugs I mentioned above.

Python understands that indentation matters to you, the other languages do
not. Basically it's an optimization that favors the language author (it's
slightly easier to parse!) while dumping more work on the language users.
Bleh.

-Dave





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