Terminology: "reference" versus "pointer"

Akira Li 4kir4.1i at gmail.com
Sat Sep 12 22:13:24 CEST 2015

Rustom Mody <rustompmody at gmail.com> writes:

> On Saturday, September 12, 2015 at 11:26:18 PM UTC+5:30, Akira Li wrote:
>> Rustom Mody  writes:
>> > On Saturday, September 12, 2015 at 8:11:49 PM UTC+5:30, Laura Creighton wrote:
>> >> In a message of Sat, 12 Sep 2015 05:46:35 -0700, Rustom Mody writes:
>> >> >How about lay-English ontology in which "point to" and "refer to" are fairly
>> >> >synonymous?
>> >> 
>> >> This I have found is important in teaching, which is why I favour 'bind'
>> >> and 'binding' -- rather than pointer, pointer, refer to, referring.
>> >
>> > Well we can play humpty dumpty and make any word mean whatever we like.
>> > However if you are a teacher you will recognize a need for pictures.
>> > And (as far as I can tell) "Random832" finds a need for the box-n-arrow
>> > diagrams of classic data-structure books
>> Speaking of pictures and names in Python
>> http://python.net/~goodger/projects/pycon/2007/idiomatic/handout.html#other-languages-have-variables
> Yeah cute
> [I think I will even use these in my classes]
> However they dont address the issue that I think random832 is
> referring to.

The pictures despite their simplicity reflect the actual model that
Python language uses i.e., any deviations are an implementation artifact
and may be ignored.

> viz. I have two variables (or names!) say a and b which look the same
>>>> a
> [[1,2],[1,2]]
>>>> b
> [[1,2],[1,2]]
> And yet doing
>>>> a[0][0] = "Oops!"
> gives a data structure one "Oops!"
> whereas doing it to b mysteriously gives 2

Sorry, I haven't followed the whole thread. Could your provide a
complete code example? Mention what you expect to happen and what
happens instead in your case.

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