newbie: self.member syntax seems /really/ annoying

Charles Fox charles.fox at gmail.com
Wed Sep 12 12:21:58 CEST 2007


I've just started playing around with Python, as a possible
replacement for a mix of C++, Matlab and Lisp.  The language looks
lovely and clean with one huge exception:  I do a lot of numerical
modeling, so I deal with objects (like neurons) described
mathematically in papers, by equations like
    a_dot = -k(a-u)
In other languages, this translates nicely into code, but as far as I
can tell, Python needs the ugly:
    self.a_dot = -self.k(self.a-self.u)
For large equations this is going to make my code seriously unreadable
to the point of needing to switch back to Matlab -- and it seems to go
against everything else about python's simplicity and elegance.  Am I
missing something?  Is there something like a 'with' command that lets
me set the scope, like

    with self:
      .a_dot = -.k(.a-.u)

It's premature to make language suggestions as I am new to the
language, but I would have though that making a 'with self' explicit
in all methods would have been neat, so I could just write
      .a_dot = -.k(.a-.u)
which would still avoid confusion with local function variables, since
'.a' is different from 'a'.

Please help if I am missing something -- this looks like a great
language but I am going to mad trying to read numerical code full of
'self.'s breaking up the equations.




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