English-like Python

J. Cliff Dyer jcd at sdf.lonestar.org
Tue Feb 3 21:01:17 CET 2009

On Tue, 2009-02-03 at 08:33 -0700, Joe Strout wrote:
> J. Cliff Dyer wrote:
> > But what if your language allows functions to be used as first class
> > objects?  (Mine does :))  
> > 
> > x = Beep
> > 
> > Does that assign the name x to the Beep object or does it assign the
> > result of a Beep call to x?
> It assigns the result.  To assign the name to the Beep object requires a 
> bit of additional syntax; in RB, this would be
>   x = AddressOf Beep
> > There's no virtue in making ridiculously simple things even simpler if
> > it makes the interesting things impossible.
> Of course.  The goal is (or should be) to make the common things 
> ridiculously simple, and make the uncommon things only somewhat less so. 
>   Even in Python, it is far more common to invoke a function than to 
> need a reference to it.  So invoking a function should be the thing that 
> requires no extra syntax (even including "()").  Getting a reference to 
> it, which is less common, should be the thing that requires more syntax.

Except that now you have introduced an inconsistency into python.  What
does the following mean?

my_object = MyObject()
x = my_object

What if MyObject defines a method named __call__?

Now some objects are passed around using

x = my_object

while others require

x = AddressOf my_object

and the only way to tell which is which is to check the object for the
presence of a __call__ method.  

This seems like a serious inconsistency to me.

> Cheers,
> - Joe


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