How do you use `help` when write your code

Rick Johnson rantingrickjohnson at gmail.com
Sun Jul 6 20:48:11 CEST 2014


On Sunday, July 6, 2014 11:36:23 AM UTC-5, Shiyao Ma wrote:
> I often heard people mention use help(ob) as a way of
> documentation look up. Personally I seldom/never do that.
> My normal workflow is use ipython, obj? or obj?? for quick
> look up or use docs.python.org for a detailed read. Do you
> use `help`? How does it integrate into your workflow? Or
> instead, what similar tools do you use?

For me i use a very simple graphical IDE for writing code,
and i have a Python interactive console for testing snippets
here or there when needed.

I just abhor bloatware like Eclise! I also have no use for
debuggers or line breaks or any of that childish nonsense.
*Real* programmers possess keen detective that can root out
bugs with nothing more than a few well placed print
statements and some good old fashioned "eyeball analysis".

Besides, writing rock solid interfaces is prerequisite for
programmer happiness. That means type checking inputs to
function and classes so you don't propagate errors ten miles
from the source of the problem before they get raised by
Python (Tkinter i'm looking at angrily you now!), then you
spend two day analyzing miles of implicit trace-back messages
only to find out a parameter was illegal and could have been
caught at input!

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME!

And, as Mr.D'Aprano has stated, many of the built-in
functions like "dir" are in need of refining. But i go a
step further than mere monkey patching, and have decided long
ago that too much of the introspection of Python is broken
in ways that can only be repaired via an "introspection
mini-language", which i have incorporated directly into my
custom shell. Besides, who really enjoys typing 

    help(obj)
    
or 

    dir(obj)
   
Both of those function require more effort to type than the
information for which they provide, much of which is too
verbose anyhow. I mean really, what is GvR's excuse for not
adding some filtering to "dir"? He could do it in a
backwards compatible manner, but no, he refuses, and instead,
decides to fracture a community over a print function!

    BUT I DIGRESS!

And i've never used ipyhon, but if that question mark does
what i think it does then i'm yet again reminded that "great
minds do, in fact, think alike"!

What i'm saying is that the built-in functions of "help",
"dir", "type", "id", "repr", "str", etc... are "enough" for
the neophyte however they are woefully inadequate for a
pythonista like myself.

In fact, the more i use this language the more i realize how
much i need to change to make it useful for me, which
reminds me that i need to get cracking on that fork again.
Although i don't know why i bother to mention that fork
anyway since it will most likely be my little private toy
anyway. I have yet to be convinced that this community
deserves any of my contributions, and instead, they will
suffer my grievances.



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