I'm coming from Tcl-world ...

Andreas Leitgeb Andreas.Leitgeb at siemens.at
Fri Aug 2 15:36:52 CEST 2002

Hello pythonians!
I'm somewhat experienced in Tcl-scripting, and I generally still like 
Tcl, but there are some nasty edges in Tcl, which is the reason
why I had a look at Python.
I bought a small intro-book about python (it deals with 2.0 to 2.2 with
some prospects to 3.0), which I've now almost read through, and now there 
are some goodies in Tcl, which I'm sure have their counterparts in Python, 
but I didn't find them so far. (This may also be due to the shortness of
the book). These are:

1.) A 'for'-loop like in Tcl or in C, where you have separate
   Init-, condition and increment-blocks, that control the loop.
   (Of course, there's while, which can emulate all, but with that,
   getting "continue" straight (that is: jump to the "increment-part" 
   of the body) is probably some hassle ...)

2.) A 'switch'-thing: like a big if-elif-elif-elif-...-else but which
   evaluates its expression only once ... and then does all the comparisons.

3.) event-based scripting. (like 'fileevent','after',... in Tcl)
   I've read somewhere, that with tkinter I get access to tcl's event-stuff,
   But I was more after something that also works without Gui and without
   actually using Tcl through Python.  Is there a builtin module that
   wraps the select() or poll() systemcall, and invokes the registered
   functions if "their" respective channel becomes readable/writable
   or a timer runs out ?

4.) "calls by reference": maybe I'm totally misunderstanding pythons
   function-call-concepts. I want to pass a non-global variable to
   a subroutine, have it changed there, and find that variable
   changed in the calling context:
   something like
     def f( x ) : x=42
     f(y); print y
   of course doesn't work out the way I'm looking for. So what's the 
   easiest, and (if different) what's the python'iest way to do it ?
   (apart from returning a tuple that contains the changed copy of the 

 during playing around (stress-testing) I created a string object z 
 that contained 1 MB of zero-characters, then I did the following:
 with Python 1.5  I stopped it after an hour, when it still wasn't 
 finished, whereas in Python 2.2 (on a different, little slower, but 
 more recently installed) machine this took less than 10 seconds (iirc). 
 On a third machine (about double fast than the other two) with 
 Python 2.0 it also seems to take ages.
 Is this a bug in old versions, or has something severely changed from
 2.0 to 2.2 that affects performance so much ?  Or is this just one of 
 many reasons to upgrade to 2.2.1 on all the machines ?-)

PPS: python'ing on linux I currently am.
Newsflash: Sproingy made it to the ground !
  read more ... <http://avl.enemy.org/sproingy/>

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