Attack a sacred Python Cow
Russ.Paielli at gmail.com
Mon Jul 28 04:52:55 CEST 2008
On Jul 27, 3:54 pm, Steven D'Aprano <st... at REMOVE-THIS-
> On Sun, 27 Jul 2008 12:33:16 -0700, Russ P. wrote:
> > On Jul 27, 1:19 am, Steven D'Aprano <st... at REMOVE-THIS-
> > cybersource.com.au> wrote:
> >> On Sat, 26 Jul 2008 17:14:46 -0700, Russ P. wrote:
> >> > You take the name down to a single letter. As I suggested in an
> >> > earlier post on this thread, why not take it down to zero letters?
> >> The question isn't "why not", but "why". The status quo works well as
> >> it is, even if it isn't perfect. Prove that implicit self is a good
> >> idea -- or at least prove that it is an idea worth considering.
> >> "I don't like typing self" doesn't convince me. The same argument could
> >> be made typing parentheses, colons, commas, etc. We could end up with
> >> something like this:
> >> class Foo base
> >> def method x y z
> >> .args = list x y z
> >> That's not necessarily wrong, but it's not Python.
> > And what does that have to do with my suggestion? Absolutely nothing.
> Not at all. You're suggesting a change to Python's syntax. I've suggested
> a couple more changes to Python syntax. I don't intend them to be taken
> seriously, but only to illustrate a point that syntax defines how a
> language is written. You want to change that.
But the syntax change I am suggesting is trivial compared to the
draconian examples you gave.
> > It's a red herring that you seem to be using to obscure the fact that
> > you have no rational argument to make.
> I don't have to make a rational argument for keeping the status quo. That
> status quo just *is*. You want people to change, you need to convince
> them that such a change is not just "not bad" but a serious advantage,
> enough to make up for all the work required to implement it.
> I'm listening. Tell me why removing self if not merely harmless, but
> actively better.
I thought I did just that. I am very meticulous about the appearance
of my code, and the less cluttered the better. That's one of the main
reasons that I use Python. My suggestion would be relatively trivial
to implement, yet it would dramatically reduce clutter. You may not
agree, but I think the case is strong.
> >> By "better" do you mean "uglier"? If so, I agree with you. If not, then
> >> I disagree that it is better.
> > You seem to be freaked out by an empty argument. Actually, it bothers me
> > a bit too, which is why I suggested that a period could be used as the
> > first argument to indicate that, like Clint Eastwood in The Good, the
> > Bad, and the Ugly, "self" had no name here.
> Well there you go now. How should we *talk* about this piece of code? Try
> writing a comment or docstring, or even sitting down with a fellow
> programmer and discussing it. What do you call this implicit Object With
> No Name?
How do Java and C++ programmers talk about the instance for which the
method was called? I wasn't aware that that was a problem for them.
> def fun( , cat):
> .cat = cat # assumes that the Object With No Name has foo
> def fun(self, cat):
> self.cat = cat # assumes that self has foo
> Before you suggest that people will continue to call the first argument
> "self" but just not write it down anywhere, I suggest that's a terrible
> idea and one which will confuse a lot of people. "Where's this 'self'
> defined? I can't find it anywhere!"
Any programmer who can't get past that point needs to find a new line
of work -- such as moving furniture.
> A slightly better suggestion is "the instance", but that fails here:
> class C(object):
> def method(, other):
> assert isinstance(other, C)
> .cat = other # assumes that the instance has foo
> # er, that is to say, the implicit instance,
> # not the other instance
> The ability to talk easily about the code is invaluable. Implicit self
> makes it harder to talk about the code.
I can only imagine what you must think about lambda functions and list
> >> Even uglier than the first. Convince me there's a benefit.
> > Actually, I think it's elegant. And I'll bet that if Guido had suggested
> > it, you would think it was beautiful.
> Oh please. I think the syntax for ternary if is ugly, and Guido came up
> with that, and it doesn't even use punctuation.
Off topic, but I happen to like Guido's ternary "if." I use it
wherever I can, within reason.
> > Why force a name to be used when none is needed?
> But a name is needed.
> class Foo(base1, base2, base3):
> def meth(self, arg):
> super(Foo, self).meth(arg)
> print self
> value = _cache[self]
> except KeyError:
> value = some_long_calculation(self)
> How do you pass self to arbitrary functions without a name?
I didn't say you *never* need the name. If you need it, then use it.
But if you don't need it, you shouldn't be forced to use a name just
for the sake of having a name.
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