Is Python type safe?

Erik Max Francis max at alcyone.com
Wed Mar 17 01:50:04 CET 2004


srijit at yahoo.com wrote:

> I would like to know the definition of type safe and whether Python
> can be considered as a type safe language. Similarly are Java, C# or
> C++ type safe?

It depends what you mean by "type safe."  I've heard two broad
definitions commonly used:

- objects have an intrinsic type which dictates how they behave, objects
define how operations on them behave, rather than operations defining
how untyped objects behave

- the type system in the language cannot be thwarted through unsafe
casts and the like

Python and Java meet both definitions; I'm not sure about C# since I
know there are unsafe operations supported within it (unlike Java) but I
don't know if they allow for defeating the type system.  C++ probably
meets the first definition, but definitely doesn't meet the second.  C
probably doesn't meet either.  A weakly-typed language like Perl doesn't
meet the first definition either.

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