PEP308: a call for usability studies (was Re: Update to PEP308: if-then-else expression)

Michele Simionato mis6 at
Thu Feb 13 19:07:39 CET 2003

Carel Fellinger <carel.fellinger at> wrote in message news:<mailman.1045092479.10310.python-list at>...


I have just tested my girlfriend, showing her the examples provided by Carel.
The result are the following:

1) a=1

Of course, it means that a is equal to 1, I understand that!

2)   if a == 1:
         b = 2
         b = 3

There are two mistakes:  == should be =  and the colons after else are wrong.
This statement means that if a=1 then b can be 2 or 3.

3)   b = 2 if a==1 else 3

A perverse form of writing 2). Still the == is wrong.

4)   b = (if a==1: 2 else: 3)

Let me check my e-mail first ...

I had a big trouble explaing to her that b cannot be 2 or 3, it is 2 if a=1
and it is 3 otherwise. She said the else was confusing and the colons too.

My girlfriend is a french teacher, she also speaks italians, english, spanish,
a little rumenian, portuguese and some words of russian. She insists that the
current Python usage of colons is wrong and confusing!

It was impossible to convince her that 4) was reasonable...

I must admit that my faith that Python is a big language for beginners has been 
shaken :-(


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