anything like C++ references?
dave at pythonapocrypha.com
Tue Jul 15 16:07:55 CEST 2003
On Tuesday 15 July 2003 02:18 am, Stephen Horne wrote:
> >Why don't you respect the possibility of a language that is *designed* to
> > deal with entities and relationships in ways you are not used to? ;-)
> Basically, because I've seen too many threads started by confused
> people who've made a mistake because of this, and because I've made
> the mistake an annoying number of times myself.
But the problem is that you're inferring from those threads that this is a
widespread problem. It is not. Compared to the total number of people using
Python, this issue isn't brought up that often (especially compared to, say,
"can I make an EXE of a Python app?").
Also, in *every* case it is someone "thinking in C" rather than Python. Once
they reset their brains to the way Python does things, then the problem goes
away, if they had a problem with it in the first place. This is not the same
thing as people "just dealing with it" or forcing themselves to think in and
odd way but a slightly *different* way.
At most I'd concede that this is a documentation problem, but nothing more -
for many, many people the way Python does it works terrifically well. I just
don't see how having to adjust your thinking a little when using a different
language implies the new language isn't doing the right thing, especially
when the new way works so well in practice.
> It's not just about theory - it's about peoples intuitions about how
> things should work.
Obviously it can't match everyone's intuitions. Besides, intuitions are
heavily influenced by past experience, so there do exist times when it's best
to go against the grain in that respect. The "problem" here is that newcomers
to Python often make an incorrect assumption. The moment they let go of that
assumption, everything is fine.
Guido has a pretty good track record as a language designer, so when you see
something in Python that is different than previous languages you've used it
might be wart, but it might also be a place where there's good reason for
being different. This is an example of the latter - in real programs this
approach works well and is quite powerful and elegant. As a result I'm more
comfortable with languages that work this way and less so with those that
> A goal of Python is to be a 'very high level language'. Another is to
> 'do the right thing'.
If so, then in the opinion of most users it *is* succeeding at both goals. The
theoretical or mathematical parallels may be interesting, but they're
irrelevent because (for a large number of users, probably the overwhelming
majority) the way references and binding are handled in Python works very,
very well in practice, plain and simple.
> > If you
> >read "variable" where you should be reading "alias"
> If I should be reading "alias", then how come the Python manuals say
Perhaps because most people don't have a hangup about it? And perhaps because
the few who do get over it rather quickly? Seriously - it's such a tiny
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