PEP 318: Can't we all just get along?

Kevin Smith Kevin.Smith at
Wed Aug 18 00:16:55 CEST 2004

For what it's worth, I wrote the original PEP 318.  I probably wasn't 
qualified, but I just wanted a nice simple way to declare class methods 
without having to repeat the function name.  After submitting it to BDFL 
for approval, more work was needed and the discussion of PEP 318 on 
python-dev increased rapidly.  It was evident that I was in over my head, 
so I asked more someone more experienced to take over.  

I guess others had bigger plans for my proposal that I had planned.  It 
has turned into the "solution" to many problems: type checking (both 
arguments and returned values), metaclasses, metadata, interfaces, 
function attributes, etc.).  Unfortunately, in the process, this simple 
request for syntactical sugar has turned into a monstrosity.  In my 
opinion, none of the proposed syntaxes really seem Pythonic.  This PEP 
just seems to be trying to solve too many problems.

Bear with me, but I'd like to propose one more syntax that is simple, 
easy for newbies to understand,  and nowhere near as powerful as the 
current PEP's syntax.  However, it doesn't add incoherent, arbitrary 
syntax either.

def classmethod foo(x, y, z):

That's it.  One "decorator" that is a callable object that takes a 
method as it's only argument.  No expressions, lists, tuples, etc.  Just 
one callable object.  Ok, if you absolutely must have more than one.

def classmethod synchronized foo(x, y, z):

Once again, no expressions.  I know that this isn't going to solve 
everyone's type-checking, metadata, and function attribute problems, but 
let's face it, using this PEP for all of those things just creates ugly 
syntax.  There must be more Pythonic ways to do those things in their 
own PEPs. 

Kevin Smith
Kevin.Smith at

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