What about an EXPLICIT naming scheme for built-ins?

Carlos Ribeiro carribeiro at gmail.com
Fri Sep 3 15:33:29 CEST 2004

Mostly agreed. There is an inconsistence, as sorted() and reversed()
should return both the same type of result - be it a sequence or a

I propose a slightly different approach. First, proposing a generic
naming scheme for built-ins is an ambitious goal, to say the least. I
suggest to keep the focus on this particular issue, if only to avoid a
lot of debate and flaming. So -- keeping in mind my own suggestion --
I would like to focus on the particular case at hand:

1) sorted() and reversed() should return sequences. So sorted() stays
like it, and reversed() meaning is changed. Now, that could
potentially break a lot of code, but probably this is not going to
happen -- because in most situations, reversed() is getting called

2) add two new builtins, called respectively xsorted() and
xreversed(), as the iterator versions of sorted() and reversed(). This
way we keep the existing naming convention for range() and xrange().

p.s. Please bear in mind that sort() and reverse() are methods, while
sorted() and reversed() are builtin functions -- which is a big
difference that wasn't accounted for in your initial statement of the

On Fri, 03 Sep 2004 15:10:48 +0200, Marco Aschwanden
<ppntwimbxffc at spammotel.com> wrote:
> I just read the changes for 2.4 and while scanning the list the past tense
> built-ins got my attention:
> sorted() - a new builtin sorted() acts like an in-place list.sort() but
> can be used in expressions, as it returns a copy of the sequence, sorted.
> reversed() - a new builtin that takes a sequence and returns an iterator
> that loops over the elements of the sequence in reverse order (PEP 322)
> sort() works in-place.
> reverse() works in-place.
> The past tense of sort() indicates that a copy of the sequence is returned.
> The past tense of reverse() indicates that an iterator over the original
> sequence is returned.
> To my eyes it lacks a bit of consistency... well both past-tense functions
> return something (but different somethings although the concepts behind
> sorting and reversing are similar - a possible future trap for the faq).
> It is a common trap that sort() and reverse() work in-place. Any tutorial
> will warn you and still users fall into the trap over and over again...
> One should take this as a usability weakness of the language!
> <opinion>
> I would like to see Python introducing a naming scheme for built-ins. Ruby
> for example uses the ! to indicate an in-place function [sort() vs.
> sort!()]. I know, that the exclamation mark is out of discussion but I
> would appreciate to have a clear and distinct function naming (Explicit is
> better than implicit).
> An example but not very well thought out:
> sort_inpl() -> in-place returns nothing
> sort_copy() --> returns a sorted copy
> sort_iter() -> returns an iterator over the original sequence
> sort_copy_iter() -> returns an iterator on a copied and sorted sequence
> </opinion>
> What do you think about a naming scheme? Do you have any proposals/ideas?
> Regards,
> Marco
> --
> http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/python-list

Carlos Ribeiro
Consultoria em Projetos
blog: http://rascunhosrotos.blogspot.com
blog: http://pythonnotes.blogspot.com
mail: carribeiro at gmail.com
mail: carribeiro at yahoo.com

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