PEP308: Yet another syntax proposal

David Eppstein eppstein at
Mon Feb 10 21:52:56 CET 2003

On 2/10/03 9:02 PM +0100 holger krekel <pyth at> wrote:
>> I posted one several hundred messages back:
>>    cols[i] if i >= 0 else None
>> It's from real code, an example where the and/or trick fails because you
>> don't know the truth status of cols[i], and an example where the guard
>> might serve to prevent an array out of bounds exception.
> ok.  I think i have seen that before but also thought
> that list/tuple show grow a 'get' method (parallel to
> the dict.__getitem__ / dict.get pair).

cols.get(i,None) would do the wrong thing if i==-1 -- I really want None, 
not the last item in cols, for this case.

> And i thought why would someone really need to do this
> check?  Either you allow negative indices (which work on
> list/tuples) or you don't in which case you might like
> to get into some error-path anyway.  How do you get
> to 'i<0' anyway?

It's a flag value to distinguish a "select all" menu item from the menu 
items referring to individual columns.

> This reinforces an earlier thought about PEP-308 alternatives,
> which might read as follows:
>     cols[i] except IndexError: None

Again, not good, i==-1 doesn't cause the IndexError unless cols is empty.

What would work in my case (since i<0 always ends up being exactly -1) 
would be to copy the cols array, append None to the copy, and then use 
cols[i] without checks.  I happen to think that would be more obscure than 
the if-then-else code I've been using.
David Eppstein       UC Irvine Dept. of Information & Computer Science
eppstein at

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