Python indentation deters newbies?

Sibylle Koczian Sibylle.Koczian at Bibliothek.Uni-Augsburg.de
Tue Aug 17 10:19:27 CEST 2004


Porky Pig Jr schrieb:
> beliavsky at aol.com wrote in message news:<3064b51d.0408130615.3fc4a760 at posting.google.com>...
> 
>>One of the most commmon reasons programmers cite for not trying Python
>>is that indentation determines the program flow -- they think its
>>weird. I think programmers who actually try Python adapt quickly and
>>do not find the indentation rules to be a problem.
>>
> 
> 
> Not only it's *not a problem*. I've found it quite useful since it
> forces you to keep the proper indentation.
> 
I think indentation that's only there for human eyes, not for the 
compiler, can be the reason why you overlook your bugs:

First version:

if (condition) then
     statement-1;
statement-2;
...

Second version:

if (condition) then
     statement-1;
     statement-1a;
statement-2;
...

This isn't Python but Pascal, but you probably wanted the compiler to do 
exactly what Python _will_ do: execute statement-1a if (and only if) 
condition is true. I've done this time and again and each time wondered 
about incorrect results.

Of course this won't happen if you have to use braces or begin - end 
even for a single statement. But with Pascal or C/C++ that's not enforced.

And those staircases of

         end
     end
end

(quite a short example) aren't really beautiful, or are they?

Koczian



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