Confessions of a Python fanboy

Emmanuel Surleau emmanuel.surleau at
Sat Aug 1 06:20:28 CEST 2009

On Saturday 01 August 2009 03:46:12 Steven D'Aprano wrote:
> On Fri, 31 Jul 2009 20:41:12 +0200, Emmanuel Surleau wrote:
> >> We don't actually *declare* that something is constant and then have
> >> that declaration ignored. Python doesn't lie to us, although (as in any
> >> language) a programmer might.
> >
> > You could say that Ruby doesn't either,
> Well you could say a lot of things. Admittedly you don't need a separate
> "constant" declaration, but creating a variable name with an initial
> uppercase letter is sufficient to make it a (supposed) constant:

*shrugs* I see it as a way to encourage (but not force) people to follow a 
coding convention. Is this such a bad thing?

> irb(main):049:0* Thing = 5
> => 5
> irb(main):050:0> Thing = 7
> (irb):50: warning: already initialized constant Thing
> => 7
> As you can see, Ruby (well, irb at least) considers that Thing is a
> constant, and then goes ahead and changes it anyway.

I'm quite aware of how constants work in Ruby, yes :)

> Apart from the use of an arbitrary naming convention instead of an
> explicit "make this constant" declaration, and the feeble way Ruby
> capitulates when you change it, I think having actual write-once
> constants is actually a plus.

Nothing wrong with naming conventions. This encourages a uniform coding style, 
something which Python could really use.

> > you just need to read the
> > documentation. Ruby's unwritten motto is "flexibility über alles". In
> > this regard, it is consistent (1).
> "It's consistent in its inconsistency" sort of thing perhaps?

No, just consistent.

> > Not much is really bolted down in
> > Ruby. You get encapsulation, but it's so easy to break that it's mostly
> > symbolic.
> Out of curiosity, can you read/write class and instance attributes from
> outside the class without using a getter/setter?

If you have an instance f class with a attribute @foo which doesn't have an 
accessor, you could do:


And yes, instance_eval is evil.



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