len() should always return something

Erik Max Francis max at alcyone.com
Sun Jul 26 01:21:39 CEST 2009

Steven D'Aprano wrote:
> But it's not "practically every function". It's hardly any function at 
> all -- in my code, I don't think I've ever wanted this behavior. I would 
> consider it an error for function(42) and function([42]) to behave the 
> same way. One is a scalar, and the other is a vector -- they're different 
> things, it's poor programming practice to treat them identically.
> (If Matlab does this, so much the worse for Matlab, in my opinion.)

There's actually good reason to do this in heavily matrix-oriented 
specialized languages; there are numerous applications where scalars and 
1x1 matrices are mathematically equivalent.

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