Py3K idea: why not drop the colon?

Ron Adam rrr at
Mon Nov 13 22:10:06 CET 2006

Michael Hobbs wrote:
> Ron Adam wrote:
>> Michael Hobbs wrote:
>>> 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.
>> I find if I approach things on a learning basis and always presume there are 
>> things I still don't know.  I then tend to get much more help and support than 
>> if I approach things on a 'I'm right/your wrong' basis.  Also, if I do turn out 
>> to have a point a view that is not exactly right, it is then much easier for me 
>> to take a new position or even the reverse position and move on.
> To clarify my position, I'm not intentionally being contradictory. In 
> fact, when I first posed my question, I asked if anyone had a good 
> reason for why the redundancy should continue to exist. Expecting to get 
> a nice grammatical counter-example, the only viable answer that anyone 
> could come up with is the FAQ answer that it improves readability. Since 
> then, I've been fighting my point that the colon really doesn't improve 
> readability all that much.

And you may be entirely correct that it doesn't improve readability "that much" 
or not enough to matter. So at some point some body made a choice and now that's 
what we have.

But the situation of readability now is influenced by that choice made then. If 
it was a close call when abc was designed, enough so that a study was needed to 
decide, It has now become what we are used to.  And familiarity probably has a 
bigger effect on readability.

> In the end, I have to admit that I really couldn't give a flying frog if 
> the colon is there or not. It's just a colon, after all. I *was* hoping 
> that I could convince someone to honestly think about it and consider if 
> the colon is really that noticeable. But so far, the only response that 
> I've received is that there's that ABC study somewhere and that settles 
> that.
> - Mike

As I said above, it may in fact be the way it is, simply because someone at some 
point made a choice for what ever reason they had at the time.  But changing 
this particular item at this time isn't something that would be practical. (my 
opinion) So probably the best you can expect is for a few people to agree with 
you. Which is fine.

If enough people were to agree with you, you could start a group effort to write 
your own version of python and distribute that.  There's nothing preventing 
anyone from doing that.


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