Lisp mentality vs. Python mentality

Ciprian Dorin, Craciun ciprian.craciun at
Sun Apr 26 11:30:40 CEST 2009

On Sun, Apr 26, 2009 at 12:08 PM, "Martin v. Löwis" <martin at> wrote:
>>     From your comments I understand that the only problem with my code
>> proposal are the function names...
> No, the problem is that you are using way too many functions, that do
> too little. The problem with that is then that you have to give names
> to all the functions, which then find people difficult to read because
> they don't just need to the code in question itself; they also need to
> dozen of helper functions that it relies on.
>>     And about the find_index, we could rename it to
>> first_matching_index. About the negation optional parameter, we could
>> eliminate it if we allow either: to have another function
>> first_missmatching_index, but this leads to namespace bloat, or we
>> have a function named negate, that takes another function, and negates
>> it meaning.
> Or you could avoid introducing the function altogether, to make it more
> readable. This makes it more pythonic, also: readability counts (from
> the Zen of Python).
> Regards,
> Martin

    So if I'm reading right you are saying something in the lines:
"using too many functions is bad just because it is unreadable and
non-understandable to average (could I say mediocre?) programmers"...
Unfortunately I thought that delegating responsibilities to other
functions, and thus writing small chunks of code, is what good
software engineering is... Well my bad...

    (As a side-note, maybe this is a reason why some of my students
find it hard to understand functional programming -- too many
functions that is -- I shall have to revise my teaching, and tell the
students to inline everything, maybe they'll understand it like this
:) )

    Although you have a point -- that of being hard to comprehend by
average programmers -- but this doesn't mean it is a wrong (as in
ugly) solution... Also, with respects, but the "pythonic" solution
involving generators (or iterators) and "zip" or "all" function --
although I appreciate it as it comes close to FP -- is not what I
would call readable and understandable by non-guru programmers...

    Ciprian Craciun.

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