Why tuples use parentheses ()'s instead of something else like <>'s?

Alex Martelli aleaxit at yahoo.com
Thu Dec 30 18:07:37 CET 2004


John Roth <newsgroups at jhrothjr.com> wrote:
   ...
> and division. We've allowed ourselves to be limited by the
> ASCII character set for so long that improving that seems to be
> outside of most people's boxes.

APL didn't allow itself to be limited that way.  Anybody who's used it
can hardly be accused to keep non-ASCII characters "outside their box".

And, you know what?  Despite being an old APL user, I think would be a
_disaster_ for Python to go that route.  Yes, ASCII imposes design
constraints.  But constraints can be a good and helpful thing.  Look for
example at what classical architects and sculptors DID, within horrible
technical constraints on materials and methods, and compare it with
artsy modern architecture, which can use an enormously wider palette of
technical approaches and materials... I think a tiny minority of today's
architecture and sculpture can rightfully be compared with the
masterpieces of millennia past.  Similarly, highly constrained forms
such as sonnet or haiku can unchain a poet's creativity in part BECAUSE
of the strict constraints they impose wrt free verse or prose...

Back to feet-on-ground issues, mandating a wider-than-ASCII character
set would horribly limit the set of devices, as well as of software
tools, usable with/for Python -- I love the fact that Python runs on
cellphones, for example.  Input methods for characters outside the ASCII
set are always a bother, particularly to the touch-typist: even to enter
Italian accented vowels, on this US keyboard, I have to go through
definitely eccessive gyrations, which horribly slow down my usually very
fast typing.  Seeing what you're doing can sometimes be a bother too:
you need to ensure the glyphs for all the characters you need are
readable _and distinguishable_ in whatever font you're using.


Alex



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