how to write a tutorial

drewc drewc at
Fri Jan 21 08:23:08 EST 2005

You should not be giving such advice! (and the crosspost ... WTF?).

I've been trying to follow along with your perl/python yahoo group, but 
your posts are terrible.

Perhaps you should provide the output of the code you post. Then i'd 
actually know what i'm trying to achieve. As it is i have to cut/paste 
your code into an interpreter just to figure out what it does.

What does this have to do with Lisp? (i'm in c.l.l).


Xah Lee wrote:
> i've started to read python tutorial recently.
> Here are some quick critique:
> quick example:
> If the input string is too long, they don't truncate it, but return it
> unchanged; this will mess up your column lay-out but that's usually
> better than the alternative, which would be lying about a value. (If
> you really want truncation you can always add a slice operation, as in
> "x.ljust( n)[:n]".
> better:
> If the input string is too long, they don't truncate it, but return it
> unchanged;
> -----------------
> delete: Reverse quotes (``) are equivalent to repr(), but their use is
> discouraged.
> -----------------
> similarly, many places mentioning uncritical info such as warning or
> reference to other languages should be deleted.
> the tutorial should be simple, concise, to the point, stand along.
> Perhaps 1/5th length of the tutorial should be deleted for better.
> Follow the above principles.
> at places often a whole paragraph on some so called computer science
> jargons should be deleted. They are there more to showcase inane
> technicality than do help the reader. (related, many passages with
> jargons should be rewritten sans inane jargon. e.g. mutable object.)
> one easy way to understand these principles is to compare perl's
> documentation or unix man pages to Python's. The formers are often
> irrelevant, rambling on, not stand-along (it is written such that it
> unnecessarily requires the reader to be knowledgable of lots of other
> things). Python docs are much better, but like many computer language
> manuals, also suffers from verbiage of tech jargons. (these jargons or
> passages about them are usually there to please the authors
> themselves).
> A exemplary writing in this direction is the Mathematica manual by
> Stephen Wolfram. Any intelligent layman sans computer science degree
> can read it straightforwardly, and learn unhindered a language that is
> tantamount to features of lisp languages. Such documentation is not
> difficult to write at all. (contrary to the lot of "computer
> scientists" or IT pundits morons.) All it take is some simple
> principles outlined above.
> Xah
>  xah at

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