Spaces in object attribute

Alex Martelli aleax at
Thu Jan 10 09:02:05 EST 2002

"Emile van Sebille" <emile at> wrote in message
news:a1k5nr$qp6bs$1 at
> Shouldn't this cause an SyntaxError?
> >>> sys.version
> '2.2 (#28, Dec 21 2001, 12:21:22) [MSC 32 bit (Intel)]'
> >>> class Test:pass
> >>> obj=Test()
> >>> obj. attr = 1 # note the space
> >>>
> In particular, I ran across this while printing out debugging info when I
> typoed in a period for a comma.  I was surprised to get an attribute error
> at run time instead of a syntax error at compile time.
> Is there a reason to allow spaces like this?

Current Python rule is that whitespace _between_ tokens is always OK -- it
may be mandatory (when the tokens would otherwise "run into each other" and
become a single one -- e.g. "forxin" vs "for x in") or optional (otherwise),
but it's never forbidden.  Quite a simple rule.

What would you like to see this rule replaced with?  Always forbidden
except where mandatory?  Apart from breaking existing programs, this
would tend to produce very "crunched-up" lines in many cases.  Forbidden
in some cases, still optional in others?  I suspect it would be very hard
to formulate the rule about those "some cases" so that simplicity is
kept while obtaining the effect you desire (whatever, in detail, that is).


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