invert or reverse a string... warning this is a rant
jstroud at mbi.ucla.edu
Thu Oct 19 22:32:30 CEST 2006
Fredrik Lundh wrote:
> James Stroud wrote:
> > without requiring an iterator
> can we perhaps invent some more arbitrary constraints while we're at it?
I guess while I'm at it, this thread wouldn't have so much steam were
these idioms seemingly unpythonic:
The latter, while more terse than alist.reversed(), is unnatural and
ugly compared to the general elegance of other constructs in python.
Were this not the case, beginners and intermediate programmers alike
would not have such trouble remembering it. In fact, the latter's exact
behavior, if I remember correctly, spawned a thread of its own with much
speculation as to the exact meaning of the documentation and whether the
API conformed to this inferred meaning. I'll attempt to provide a link
to the thread if anyone takes me to task on this.
I'm sure many life-long programmers will claim that they have never
created a reverse copy of a data structure for production code, but why
is it that so many jump to the fore to point out that alist[::-1] is how
one produces a reverse copy of a list, or that a string can be reversed
with reversed, join, and an instance of another string (did I leave
But why do so many beginning programmers ask how one might produce a
reverse data structure in python? Perhaps they are just ignorant fools
who don't know that creating a reverse copy of a data structure can be
proven to be a useless operation if only they would stop trying to write
code and begin to write formal proofs. Perhaps their professors are to
blame, unreasonably asking them to write actual code before memorizing
all three+ volumes of Knuth. I'm sure the proof is in there somewhere.
But maybe it is not the purpose of a poweful language like python to be
used as a teaching language. Maybe python should be reserved for use
only by those who have been desensitized to its idiosyncracies,
inconsistencies, and idiomatic workarounds.
UCLA-DOE Institute for Genomics and Proteomics
Los Angeles, CA 90095
More information about the Python-list