walrus with a twist :+= or ...

Peter J. Holzer hjp-python at hjp.at
Thu Oct 28 05:07:53 EDT 2021

On 2021-10-27 22:15:09 -0400, Avi Gross via Python-list wrote:
> But a serious question is now that we sort of have UNICODE, and even many
> editors and other programs support it, perhaps it might make sense for some
> operations in computer languages to make use of them.

I have thought so since the 1990's.

But while the large variety of unicode symbols is great for displaying
programs, it is awful for entering them. Keyboards have a limited number
of keys (and those are fairly standardized, if a different standard in
each country), so you either have to combine several keys or need to
pick characters by a different method (e.g. the mouse). Both are
cumbersome, shift the attention of the programmer from the algorithm to
the mechanics of entry, and are different from editor to editor.

I sometimes use Greek letters in variable names. But I do that only for
personal projects, not at work. I can't expect my co-workers to find out
how enter Greek letters in PyCharm or Visual Studio Code or Notepad++ or
whatever they are using and I don't want to do that research myself (I
know how to use digraphs im vim, thank you). And we are a small team.
Think of the diversity in a large multi-national company ...

It might work if the language is tightly integrated with an IDE. Then
the designers of the IDE and the designers of the language can work
together to make it easy to edit programs. And everyone who uses the
language has to use the IDE anyway (because of the tight integration),
so "but how do I type that in Notepad++?" is not a concern.

But tying together a language to an IDE that tightly will turn away all
programmers who are already used to a different IDE (or just plain
editor) and want to continue to use that.


   _  | Peter J. Holzer    | Story must make more sense than reality.
|_|_) |                    |
| |   | hjp at hjp.at         |    -- Charles Stross, "Creative writing
__/   | http://www.hjp.at/ |       challenge!"
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