Would Anonymous Functions Help in Learning Programming/Python?

Sean Tierney seanttierney at gmail.com
Sat Sep 22 01:47:17 CEST 2007

Just tell him that "functions are like all  other variables and can
therefore be passed by other functions or returned by other functions.

If your friend understands variables and functions and he can't make
the "leap" (and assuming you're right, of course) then your friend
doesn't understand variables and functions.

Happy Friday.


On 9/21/07, Cristian <super.sgt.pepper at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sep 21, 3:44 pm, Ron Adam <r... at ronadam.com> wrote:
> > I think key may be to discuss names and name binding with your friend.  How
> > a name is not the object it self, like a variable is in other languages.
> > For example show him how an object can have more than one name.  And discus
> > how names can be bound to nearly anything, including classes and functions.
> I could discuss name binding but it would be great if Python said this
> itself. After all, you can even bind a module with the foo = bar
> syntax by using __import__ function. If function definitions followed
> the same pattern, I think a beginner would subconsciously (maybe even
> consciously) realize that function names are just like everything
> else. Actually, this would be helpful for many people. If you come
> from a language like Java you're used to thinking of attributes and
> methods as living in different namespaces. I think a new syntax will
> encourage seasoned programmers think in a more Pythonic way.
> Python has done a very good job in easing people into programming. My
> friend doesn't come to me very often because the syntax is clear and
> simple and the builtin datatypes allow you to do so much. My goal is
> that I would never have to explain to him about name binding; that
> he'd pick it up by learning the language on his own. He's learned
> lists, dictionaries and even some OOP without me. I don't think name
> binding would be a stretch.
> > You could also discus factory functions with him.  Once he gets that a
> > function can return another function, then it won't be so much of a leap
> > for a function to take a function as an argument.
> I think this isn't the most intuitive way of approaching first order
> functions. It's true that if a function can return another function
> then a function must be first order (i.e., it's just like any other
> variable), but that seems almost backwards to me. I think it would
> make more sense to have beginners _know_ that functions are like all

> other variables and can therefore be passed by other functions or
> returned by other functions. That I think would be better accomplished
> if they define functions the same way you would define other variables
> that you know can be passed and returned.
> --
> http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/python-list

Sean Tierney

More information about the Python-list mailing list