Python's "only one way to do it" philosophy isn't good?

Douglas Alan doug at alum.mit.edu
Fri Jun 29 15:33:45 CEST 2007


Hrvoje Niksic <hniksic at xemacs.org> writes:

> Douglas Alan <doug at alum.mit.edu> writes:

>> I think you overstate your case.  Lispers understand iteration
>> interfaces perfectly well, but tend to prefer mapping fuctions to
>> iteration because mapping functions are both easier to code (they
>> are basically equivalent to coding generators) and efficient (like
>> non-generator-implemented iterators).  The downside is that they are
>> not quite as flexible as iterators (which can be hard to code) and
>> generators, which are slow.

> Why do you think generators are any slower than hand-coded iterators?

Generators aren't slower than hand-coded iterators in *Python*, but
that's because Python is a slow language.  In a fast language, such as
a Lisp, generators are like 100 times slower than mapping functions.
(At least they were on Lisp Machines, where generators were
implemented using a more generator coroutining mechanism [i.e., stack
groups].  *Perhaps* there would be some opportunities for more
optimization if they had used a less general mechanism.)

CLU, which I believe is the language that invented generators, limited
them to the power of mapping functions (i.e., you couldn't have
multiple generators instantiated in parallel), making them really
syntactic sugar for mapping functions.  The reason for this limitation
was performance.  CLU was a fast language.

|>oug



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