Py3K idea: why not drop the colon?

Michael Hobbs mike at
Mon Nov 13 19:51:47 CET 2006

Ron Adam wrote:
> LOL,  of course it would.  I would expect that too after a suitable amount of 
> 'brain washing', oops, I mean training and conditioning. ;-)
Trust me, my brain is quite filthy and doesn't wash easily. I do 
appreciate aesthetics, which is why still stay with Python, even after 
programming in Ruby for several months. I've used Java/C/C++ for years, 
yet I make no complaint about the lack of static typing in Python. Even 
so, I'd like to think that I know a good thing when I see it.
> The point is what is more natural to "read" with a minimum amount of 
> explanation. I would think for most people who are learning programming for the 
> first time, it is things that resemble things they already know.  Such as 
> outlining with colons.
> Leaving the colon out probably would feel more natural for writing once you get 
> used to it.  After all it is a bit less typing.   But I don't think it would be 
> the most readable choice for most people.  It's probably a trade off, 
> readability vs writability.  Another python development guideline is to favor 
> readability over writability on the presumption we tend to write code once, but 
> read code many times.
Not to repeat myself from an earlier post, but any pretense that 
Python's primary objective is readability went out the window with the 
invention of such constructs as "__del__", "__repr__", and 
"super(MyClass, self).__init__()". There are obviously other goals to 
the language's development that inspired these constructs and override 
the priority of readability.

> Here's an alternative test.  Write a program to remove all the end of line 
> colons from pythons library and then write another separate program to put them 
> back in.  Will it miss any?  will it pass the python test suite?
I just may take you up on that. ;-) Not for a few days, though. Not 
enough time right now.

- Mike

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