int/long unification hides bugs

Cliff Wells clifford.wells at
Tue Oct 26 07:34:42 CEST 2004

On Mon, 2004-10-25 at 21:25 -0700, kartik wrote:

> integers are used in different ways from strings. i may expect file
> paths to be around 100 characters, and if i get a 500-character path,
> i have no problem just because of the length. but if a person's age is
> 500 where i expect it to be less than 100, then **definitely**
> something's wrong.

So Python should raise an exception if it notices that your variable is
named "age" and you've put a number greater than 100 in it?  I'm amazed
there isn't already a PEP on this.  Have you checked to make sure?

> as another example, using too long a string as an index into a
> dictionary is not a problem (true, the dictionary may not have a
> mapping, but i have the same issue with a short string). but too long
> an index into a list rewards me with an exception.

I'd rather be rewarded with a cookie.

> as i look at my code, i rarely have an issue with string sizes, but if
> an integer variable gets very large (say > 2**31 or 2**63), it
> generally reflects a bug in my code.

Well, of course.  After all, there are only 2**63 numbers in the
universe, so any number higher than that is clearly an error.  In fact,
given that so many people use numbers on a regular basis, I suspect
there are actually far fewer numbers left now than there were

> i suggest u base your comments on real code, rather than reasoning in
> an abstract manner from your ivory tower.

I can see why you would want to avoid that.

Cliff Wells <clifford.wells at>

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