Pass-by-reference : Could a C#-like approach work in Python?

Peter Otten __peter__ at
Wed Sep 10 16:55:28 CEST 2003

Stephen Horne wrote:

> ... and here is (roughly) what I'd like to be able to do...
>>>> def Inc(ref p) :
> ...   p += 1
> ...
>>>> x = 1
>>>> Inc(x)
>>>> x
> 2

> Any thoughts?

Obviously, your example could easily be rewritten to

def inc(p):
    return p + 1

x = inc(x)

and a similar function with two by-ref parameters would still be readable:

x, y  = inc2(x, y)

So here's my question. How many functions are there in your *real* code that
could benefit from, say three or more by-ref parameters?
Hint: for me it comes close to 0 :-)

By the way, this is strictly from a user perspective, I trust the Python
developers to overcome the implementation issuses, *if* there is a
significant usability improvement.


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