pylint -- should I just ignore it sometimes?
steve at REMOVE-THIS-cybersource.com.au
Wed Oct 20 21:37:21 CEST 2010
On Wed, 20 Oct 2010 12:47:02 +0200, Jean-Michel Pichavant wrote:
> except ValueError, e:
> Use meaningful names, this is so important. 'e' is not meaningful.
> 'exception' would be slighly better.
While I agree with everything else you had to say, I have to take
exception to this comment [pun intended].
"e" as a short name for a generic exception instance is perfectly
i, j, k for an index, or a loop variable
e.g. for i in range(100)
n for some other integer variable
s for a string
x for a float, or an arbitrary sequence object
e.g. [x.spam() for x in some_sequence]
The last example is very instructive. What do you gain by racking your
brain for a "more meaningful" name instead of x? The obvious
alternatives, "obj" or "item", are equally generic as "x", they don't add
any further information. And how much information do you need? It's easy
[some_sequence_item.spam() for some_sequence_item in some_sequence]
The very shortness of the name is valuable because it reduces the *human*
parsing time in reading, and there is no cost because the conventions are
so familiar. The convention of "for i in ..." says "this is a loop over
an integer" so strongly, that I would argue that "for index in ..." would
actually *delay* comprehension.
Furthermore, the use of a single letter cues the reader that this
variable isn't notable -- there's nothing unusual or unconventional about
it, or it isn't the important part of the algorithm, or that its scope is
severely limited. For instance, consider the classic example of
exchanging two variables in Python:
a, b = b, a
thing, other_thing = other_thing, thing
The first example puts the emphasis on the *technique*, not the
variables. The second obscures it behind needlessly longer but still
You are absolutely right to insist on meaningful variable names. Where
you go wrong is to assume that single letter names can't be meaningful.
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