Backward-compatibility: help or hindrance?

Ben Finney bignose-hates-spam at and-zip-does-too.com.au
Tue Jun 17 02:21:59 CEST 2003


On Mon, 16 Jun 2003 11:01:11 -0700, Michael Chermside wrote:
> the range() function could not simply be changed to work the way
> xrange() works now, because there was lots of existing code out there
> that assumed that range() returned a list. You see, the maintainers of
> Python work quite hard to avoid as much backward-incompatibility as
> possible.

This concerns me.  Isn't it the dream of backward-compatibility that
gave us the monster that is C++ trying to advance the programming art
while leaving all the cruft of the old language built in?

I wonder how long it'll be before Python's clean, simple design is
hindered by anchors of old programming paradigms (that we presently hold
dear), weighing down the language in the much-cursed name of
"backward-compatibility".

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