Top down Python

John Allsup pydev at
Wed Feb 12 18:06:16 CET 2014


I'm trying to figure out where 'simpler' stops and 'too simplistic'
begins.  That's what I call 'absolute simplicity'.  It is a necessity in
some areas of learning where even a jot of inefficiency can be costly
(consider a superconducting magnet just below the critical frequency
with massive amps going through, and then it heats slightly, for a
picture of how this 'blow up' happens in the real world).

This is an exercise in trying to 'touch the wall'.  When the
possibilities are not infinite, merely an unimaginably large finite
number, eventually a discrete 'wall' must exists and, thus, ought to be


On 12/02/2014 08:09, Ben Finney wrote:
> John Allsup <pydev at> writes:
>> What is needed for proper learning is near-absolute simplicity.
> I think that's too simplistic :-) but I'll take it as merely a
> preference on your part for simplicity at this time.
>> I want to be able to say:
>>      1. Put a nice picture on the background.
>>      2. Put a terminal window with, say, 64x20 lines, dead centre.
> Those are deeply dependent on exactly what operating system and desktop
> environment and window manager your computer is running.
> What exact values for those variables do you want
> the simple program to assume?
> No cross-platform standard library (such as the Python standard library)
> will be able to reliably do those things without making a huge amount of
> assumption of the operating environment, much of which will be wrong for
> a large number of users.
> If you can fix each of those things precisely so that you can ignore all
> other possible values, then you can probably come up with a simple
> program to do them.
>>      3. Run a simple REPL program written in Python or Ruby within it.
> Python has its own REPL, of course; you get it when you run ‘python’
> from a command line. Simple!
> If, on the other hand, you want a REPL that plugs into something *other
> than* Python, what do you want it to plug into? You have a Python REPL
> already, so if you want something else you'll need to be specific.
>> I do not really want to write any more lines of code than I need to.
> For what goal? Python optimises your lines of code for *communicating
> with other programmers*, which in my view is pretty close to the most
> important variable to be optimising.

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