Python-URL! - weekly Python news and links (Nov 17)

rurpy at rurpy at
Tue Nov 18 03:45:59 CET 2008

On Nov 17, 11:17 am, George Sakkis <george.sak... at> wrote:
> On Nov 17, 12:44 pm, ru... at wrote:
>> On Nov 17, 8:54 am, "Gabriel Genellina" <python-... at>
>> wrote:
>> >     Candidate to *Longest and Most Boring Thread of the Year* - started
>> >     more than a month ago, currently discussing "The official definition
>> >     of call-by-value", and "What't the value of an object":
>> >
>> Nice.  The Python Reference defines objects, the core concept
>> of Python, as id, type, and value, and then leaves one clueless
>> about what a value is, and several notable Python contributors
>> declare the subject boring.
>> I guess this goes a long way to explaining why the Python docs
>> suck so badly in many areas.
> No, this goes a long way to explain why you don't need a PhD in
> denotational semantics or ontology to use Python effectively. The
> current discussion on that thread may be interesting to language
> lawyers and philosophers but it's pretty much irrelevant in
> understanding how Python works.

People use lots of things without understanding
them in detail.  That doesn't mean that it doesn't
matter if the Python Docs don't explain for
programmer's what an object is  (I agree there
is no need to describe it in terms of denotational
semantics or ontology).  There are people who
would like to form a reliable mental model of
how Python works by reading docs rather than
by synthesizing an lot of experiences, mistakes,
and experiences into that model.

I'll grant you that one needed worry too much
about what the value of an object is, relative
to innumerably discussed nature of assignment,
default argument values, and such, but I think
it is important for a full understanding of
how Python works.

And I emphatically disagree that this is only
of interest to language lawyers -- they already
know how Python works.  It is people like me
that need the information.

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