[Types-sig] Re: Static typing considered HARD

Paul Prescod paul@prescod.net
Mon, 13 Dec 1999 20:56:32 -0800

Stephen Purcell wrote:

> Static typing works very well in Java and suchlike, but those are
> different languages, and the people who cannot live without static
> typing use them instead of Python (and Smalltalk).

If Python had not had object orientation 8 years ago, we would now be
arguing against the introduction of the "class" operator as being
"un-pythonic." Anything elegant, clean and in line with the rest of the
language is, in my mind, Pythonic.

Since Guido encouraged us to go down this path, at least as a mind
experiment, I personally will not be dissuaded based on arguments that
we are going against his original intentions. As afraid as you are that
we will kill Python by changing it, I fear that we will kill it by
stultifying it. We are, after all, in the software industry.

> I use the language because it
> somehow makes me feel good. When it no longer gives me that feeling,
> I'll stop using it. Static typing would have that effect. 

Had you read the static type checking proposal when you wrote that? Have
you used languages with optional static typing? I want everybody's
opinions, emotional or otherwise, but I want people's informed opinions.
My proposal is basically about giving people a special,
computer-recognizable syntax for assertions. Are you against assertions?
Does changing the syntax of assertions bother you? Would it bother you
to find that your Python compiler might someday have a declaration that
would allow some assertions to be checked at compile time assertions?
Why wouldn't you just choose not to use that declaration?

 Paul Prescod  - ISOGEN Consulting Engineer
"Unwisely, Santa offered a teddy bear to James, unaware that he had 
been mauled by a grizzly earlier that year." - Timothy Burton, "James"