Time we switched to unicode? (was Explanation of this Python language feature?)

Chris Angelico rosuav at gmail.com
Tue Mar 25 04:57:02 CET 2014


On Tue, Mar 25, 2014 at 2:43 PM, Rustom Mody <rustompmody at gmail.com> wrote:
> What you are missing is that programmers spend
> 90% of their time reading code
> 10% writing code
>
> You may well be in the super-whiz category (not being sarcastic here)
> All that will change is upto 70-30. (ecause you rarely make a mistake)
> You still have to read oodles of others' code

No, I'm not missing that. But the human brain is a tokenizer, just as
Python is. Once you know what a token means, you comprehend it as that
token, and it takes up space in your mind as a single unit. There's
not a lot of readability difference between a one-symbol token and a
one-word token. Also, since the human brain works largely with words,
you're usually going to grok things based on how you would read them
aloud:

x = y + 1

eggs equals why plus one

They take up roughly the same amount of storage space. One of them,
being a more compact notation, lends itself well to a superstructure
of notation; compare:

x += 1

eggs plus-equals one

inc eggs

You can eyeball the first version and read it as the third, which is a
space saving in your brain. But it's not fundamentally different from
the second. So the saving from using a one-letter symbol that's read
"lambda" rather than the actual word "lambda" is extremely minimal.
Unless you can use it in a higher-level construct, which seems
unlikely in Python (maybe it's different in Haskell? Maybe you use
lambda more and actually do have those supernotations?), you won't
really gain anything.

ChrisA



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