Why functional Python matters

Steve Holden sholden at holdenweb.com
Wed Apr 16 15:17:49 CEST 2003

"Dave Benjamin" <ramen at lackingtalent.com> wrote in message
news:slrnb9pt1o.iin.ramen at lackingtalent.com...
> In article <sggp9v8lpk0045klmquc8gec1ju7q4kmpe at 4ax.com>, Courageous wrote:
> > Anonymous functions are occasionally useful, as in Java's anonymous
> > class expressions, really used as a poor man's lambda of sorts. I've
> > seen this overused, though, that's for sure.
> How frequently a feature is useful depends on the problem domain. Java's
> anonymous classes are a poor substitute because they carry so much
> For comparison, here's an implementation and usage of map in Java:
> static interface Functor {Object call(Object[] args);}
> static Object[] map(Functor func, Object[] array) {
>     Object[] result = new Object[array.length];
>     for (int i = 0; i < array.length; i++) {
>         result[i] = func.call(new Object[] {array[i]});
>     }
>     return result;
> }
> public static void main(String args[]) {
>     System.out.println(Arrays.asList(map(
>         new Functor() {
>             public Object call(Object[] args) {
>                 return args[0] + ", world!";
>             }
>         }, new String[] {"Hello", "Goodbye"}
>     )));
> }
> And the same usage in Python:
> >>> print map(lambda x: x + ', world!', ['Hello', 'Goodbye'])
> ['Hello, world!', 'Goodbye, world!']
> This is why Java is IMHO unfit for common functional tasks where Python
> shines with elegance. As to whether or not anonymous functions can be
> overused, I think any feature can be overused. Classes, for one. In fact,
> my day to day work, I find the two of similar usefulness, but maybe it's
> just because of the way I program. =)

I *still* say that Java is object-oriented COBOL. People tend to take
offence when I say it, but that example makes the point well. There's so
much crud in the typical Java application, most of which could probably be
macro-generated from a much more concise "super-source".

Steve Holden                                  http://www.holdenweb.com/
How lucky am I?      http://www.google.com/search?q=Steve+Holden&btnI=1
Python Web Programming                 http://pydish.holdenweb.com/pwp/

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