Any syntactic cleanup likely for Py3? And what about doc standards?

Kenneth McDonald kenneth.m.mcdonald at
Wed Sep 5 21:02:06 CEST 2007

The reading I've done so far on Python 3 (alpha announcement, meta-PEP, 
some other PEPs) is generally encouraging, but there doesn't seem to be 
much on cleaning up the syntax, which has become uglier over time as 
features have been added on to an original syntax that wasn't designed 
to support them. It seems to me (from what little I've read--I admit 
that it's impossible to know for sure without experimenting quite a bit, 
for which I don't currently have the time) that new features such as 
multimethods might just make things more confusing (especially for 
newbies) in a lot of ways, without appropriate syntactic support.

Currently the most obvious example of this is Python 2.5's way of 
defining properties, which is ugly. leads often to writing of 
unnecessary code, and certainly doesn't make property code clear to a 
reader. Contrast this to the way properties (things that look like an 
instance variable but are actually bound to methods) are handled in Ruby 
and (IIRC, this also does a decent job) C#.

On the other hand, it does seem that some new syntactic support for 
other features will be added, so perhaps I'm just missing whichever PEPs 
talk about going back and adding cleaner syntax for existing features...?

Finally, another thing I've perhaps missed, but I can't see anything in 
what I've gone through, about correcting of of what I see to be one of 
Python's most long-standing really serious flaws, which is the lack of 
an official standard documentation markup syntax for writing 
documentation in code. This isn't even a matter of getting something 
developed, it's simply a matter of Guido and the Powers That Be 
bestowing their benediction on one of the several adequate or better 
documentation toolsets out there, so that more of us (slowly) start 
using it. Eventually this will result in work on the toolset itself, 
more people will be willing to use it, and there'll be a nice virtuous 
circle. Given how much more capable D'Oxygen is than any of the 
Python-specific solutions, I'd vote for D'Oxygen myself, but I'd prefer 
to have almost anything fill in this vacuum, rather than continue things 
the way they are.

As I say, I don't get the time I'd like to put into reading up on Py3, 
so please feel free to correct, point out references, etc. etc.


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