Finding the instance reference of an object
doug at alum.mit.edu
Thu Nov 20 06:27:06 CET 2008
Joe Strout <joe at strout.net> writes:
>> Q. What type of calling semantics do Python and Java use?
>> A. Call-by-sharing.
> Fair enough, but if the questioner then says "WTF is call-by-sharing,"
> we should answer "call-by-sharing is the term we prefer for call-by-
> value in the case where the value is an object reference (as is always
> the case in Python)."
Personally, I think that it is much preferable to leave
"call-by-value" completely out of any such discussion, as it provably
leads to a great deal of confusion and endless, pointless debate.
It's better to just start from a clean slate and explain how
call-by-sharing works, and to assert that it is quite different from
the calling semantics of languages such as C or Pascal or Fortran, so
the student must set aside any preconceptions about how argument
Call-by-sharing is technically a type of call-by-value only for those
who are devotees of academic programming language zoology. For
everyone else, call-by-sharing is its own beast. One might point all
of this out in the discussion, however, if it will help the other
person understand. You never know -- they might be a fan of academic
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