Yet Another PEP308 syntax

Gerrit Holl gerrit at
Tue Feb 11 17:52:48 CET 2003

David Eppstein schreef op maandag 10 februari om 17:27:03 +0000:
> In article <mailman.1044892786.2769.python-list at>,
>  Gerrit Holl <gerrit at> wrote:
> > although I am against a ternary operator, here is Yet Another PEP308
> > syntax:
> > 
> > a = ?(test, true_case, false_case)
> > or
> > a = test?(true_case, false_case)
> Why do people keep proposing cryptic punctuation-based syntax for this?
> Using punctuation instead of words makes the meaning non-obvious, 
> especially to new programmers who have not used C/C++/Java

I disagree. In my opinion, a '?' after a test can be very obvious, almost
as obvious as an 'if' before a test. But a 'if' before a test can mean
either that it is a statement, or that the expression doesn't read from
left to right. An 'if' after a test is not logic, but a '?' after a test

Regarding 'new programmers', I do not know any language apart from
Python, which is not only a weakness, but also a strenght: I know what's
its like to learn to program with Python, and I am not being distracted
by thoughts like "Oh, this is Perl/C/Java".

> and so it 
> seems unlikely that the BDFL will ever accept it.  Such proposals 
> clutter the discussion without making progress towards getting a ternary 
> included in the language.

I disagree, but I am against a ternary included in the language so I won't
be unhappy about it <w>. It's just that _if_ a ternary is included, I'd
personally prefer '?'-like punctuation to using 'if-else' keywords.

But I am not happy about the ','. Maybe:

    [3] test?(true_case or false_case)
    [4] test?(true_case else false_case)

But than is the disadvantage of the 'of' keyword which can mean something
different. The disadvantage of

    [5] test?(true_case || false_case)

is that the '||' is very random (I only know it from Bash).

For my own proposals, my order of preferation is:
[4], [3], [5], [2], [1].

But then, I don't even _want_ a ternary operator ;)


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