Python and Ruby

Steve Holden steve at
Wed Feb 3 00:05:30 CET 2010

Ben Finney wrote:
> Jonathan Gardner <jgardner at> writes:
>> Compare with Python's syntax.
>> # The only way to assign
>> a = b
>> # The only way to call a function
>> b(...)
>> # The only way to access a hash or array or string or tuple
>> b[...]
> For all of your examples, there are other ways supported. I do wish this
> focus on “only way” would depart, it's a fallacy and not helpful.
And besides which most people get the quote wrong. The "authoritative"
version from the Zen is, as you clearly already know

  There should be one-- and preferably only one --obvious way to do it.

> What is important (and supports the main point of your message) is that
> for each of the above, whether or not they are the only way, they are
> the one *obvious* way to do the operation.


People might be interested to know the history of the Zen, which I got
directly from Tim Peters over lunch one day. It was composed,
apparently, during the commercial breaks one evening while he was
watching professional wrestling on the television!

So it's wise not to take the Zen too seriously. It wasn't written to
guide, but to amuse. The fact that it can do both is a testament to
Tim's sagacity.

Steve Holden           +1 571 484 6266   +1 800 494 3119
PyCon is coming! Atlanta, Feb 2010
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