Friday Filosofical Finking: Import protections

DL Neil PythonList at
Thu Apr 18 00:30:47 EDT 2019

On 18/04/19 8:29 AM, Chris Angelico wrote:
> On Thu, Apr 18, 2019 at 6:21 AM DL Neil <PythonList at> wrote:
>> Do you bother with exception handling for import statements?
>> Can we assume that if such a catastrophic error occurs, it is quite
>> acceptable for the code to fall-over in a tumbling-fumble?
> I try/except around import statements only if it's possible for the
> program to recover from the exception. For instance, something that

User reactions have been covered elsewhere 'here'.

> For something that is absolutely required for the program to continue,
> what would be in your exception handler? Print a message to stderr and
> exit? That's exactly what not-catching-the-exception is for. I do
> sometimes annotate the imports, though:

We disagree. Although I hasten to add, if the error is trapped, then 
there should be some added-value over what is system-provided.

Application's log? SysLog? Particularly in a centralised or server-based 
application especially web-services.

> from dataclasses import dataclass # ImportError? Upgrade to Python 3.7
> or pip install dataclasses
> If that bombs out, the entire line will get printed, comment and all,
> and there isn't really anything else that I would want to do with the
> exception.
> So I guess the best way to answer your question is with another
> question: If such a catastrophic error occurs, what ELSE would your
> code do than fall over? If there's an answer to that question, then
> sure, catch the ImportError. Otherwise don't.

Kudos! To whom are you addressing such annotations?

Regards =dn

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