reference or pointer to some object?

Steven Bethard steven.bethard at
Wed Jan 12 19:43:28 EST 2005

Jeff Shannon wrote:
> Torsten Mohr wrote:
>> I still wonder why a concept like "references" was not
>> implemented in Python.  I think it is (even if small)
>> an overhead to wrap an object in a list or a dictionary.
> Because Python uses a fundamentally different concept for variable names 
> than C/C++/Java (and most other static languages).  In those languages, 
> variables can be passed by value or by reference; neither term really 
> applies in Python.  (Or, if you prefer, Python always passes by value, 
> but those values *are* references.)  Python doesn't have lvalues that 
> contain rvalues; Python has names that are bound to objects.  Passing a 
> parameter just binds a new name (in the called function's namespace) to 
> the same object.

Point of clarification: Java objects (but not Java primitive types like 
ints or doubles) work almost identically to Python objects -- you can 
basically think of them as references being passed by value.  There's no 
way to pass by reference in Java (even for Java primitive types).


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