Arithmetic sequences in Python

Steven D'Aprano steve at
Wed Jan 18 23:48:40 EST 2006

Steven Bethard wrote:

> I'm not sure I find it truly hateful, but definitely unnecessary. 
> TOOWTDI and all...

TOOWTDI Considered Harmful.

There is confusion between "There's Only One Way To Do 
It" and "There's One Obvious Way To Do It". The first 
is pejorative, harmful if it were true but stupid since 
it is never true. There is never only one way to do 
anything but the most trivial things. Perhaps there is 
only one way to do a null-op, (pass), but that's about it.

Even when people mean One Obvious and not Only One, it 
is still harmful because the emphasis is wrong. The 
emphasis is on the *restrictive nature* of a language 
which merely gives one obvious way of doing things.

The motto from the Zen of Python is far more nuanced 
and sensible, although not as snappy:

"There should be one-- and preferably only one 
--obvious way to do it."

The emphasis in the Zen is about *enabling* Python to 
have at least one (and preferably only one) obvious 
ways to do things. The Zen is about making sure that 
solutions are obvious in Python; TOOWTDI is about the 
paucity of solutions in the language, and I cringe 
every time I see it. See the difference?


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