what has python added to programming languages? (lets be esoteric,shall we ;)

Discussion in 'Python' started by Wildemar Wildenburger, Apr 21, 2006.

  1. Over the time I've seen lots of remarks about python that read like "a
    lot like lists in lisp" or "like the hashtable in java" or any other
    form of "like <feature> in <language>".

    Are there any concepts that python has not borrowed, concepts that were
    not even inspired by other languages? I'm just interested if it is
    "merely" a best-of collection of language features or if there are
    actually inventions that have not - or hardly - existed in programming
    before python?

    wildemar
    Wildemar Wildenburger, Apr 21, 2006
    #1
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  2. Re: what has python added to programming languages? (lets be esoteric, shall we ;)

    Wildemar Wildenburger wrote:
    > Over the time I've seen lots of remarks about python that read like "a
    > lot like lists in lisp" or "like the hashtable in java" or any other
    > form of "like <feature> in <language>".
    >
    > Are there any concepts that python has not borrowed, concepts that were
    > not even inspired by other languages? I'm just interested if it is
    > "merely" a best-of collection of language features or if there are
    > actually inventions that have not - or hardly - existed in programming
    > before python?
    >
    > wildemar


    1. One of the strenght of Python is that it does not try to be
    particularly original, most of
    the times it just borrows the good features from other languages
    without borrowing the
    warts.

    2. If you ask in a Lisp newsgroup, they will tell you that they
    invented everything that it is
    cool now (in any language) over 40 years ago. They are also mostly
    right ;)

    Michele Simionato
    Michele Simionato, Apr 21, 2006
    #2
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  3. Wildemar Wildenburger

    Carl Banks Guest

    Re: what has python added to programming languages? (lets be esoteric, shall we ;)

    Wildemar Wildenburger wrote:
    > Are there any concepts that python has not borrowed, concepts that were
    > not even inspired by other languages? I'm just interested if it is
    > "merely" a best-of collection of language features or if there are
    > actually inventions that have not - or hardly - existed in programming
    > before python?


    Nesting by indentation


    Carl Banks
    Carl Banks, Apr 21, 2006
    #3
  4. Wildemar Wildenburger

    Guest

    Re: what has python added to programming languages? (lets be esoteric, shall we ;)

    It's true that most features of python are intentionally borrowed from
    other languages. If I can think of anything that I believe to be
    specific to python, I would say it is the combination of high level
    datatypes together with an extremely simple syntax. Actually, this
    combination often results in idioms that --- although adapted from
    other languages --- are seldom as clear as in python. Examples for this
    are one-liners like

    x,y = y,x
    a,b,c = f(x)
    for key in my_dict : do_some_thing_with(my_dict[key])

    It might be that Guido adapted such notations from ABC, a language I am
    not familiar with, but as far as I know, the syntactic sugar for high
    level datatypes is one thing that
    distinguishes python from other languages.

    - harold -
    , Apr 21, 2006
    #4
  5. Wildemar Wildenburger

    Iain King Guest

    Re: what has python added to programming languages? (lets be esoteric, shall we ;)

    Wildemar Wildenburger wrote:
    > Over the time I've seen lots of remarks about python that read like "a
    > lot like lists in lisp" or "like the hashtable in java" or any other
    > form of "like <feature> in <language>".
    >
    > Are there any concepts that python has not borrowed, concepts that were
    > not even inspired by other languages? I'm just interested if it is
    > "merely" a best-of collection of language features or if there are
    > actually inventions that have not - or hardly - existed in programming
    > before python?
    >
    > wildemar


    I find slice notation consistent and elegant - did it come form another
    language?

    Iain
    Iain King, Apr 21, 2006
    #5
  6. Re: what has python added to programming languages? (lets beesoteric,shall we ; )

    wrote:

    > Examples for this are one-liners like
    >
    > x,y = y,x
    > a,b,c = f(x)
    > for key in my_dict : do_some_thing_with(my_dict[key])
    >
    > It might be that Guido adapted such notations from ABC, a language I am
    > not familiar with


    something like:

    PUT (x, y) IN y, x
    PUT f x y IN y, x
    FOR key IN keys my_dict:
    DO_SOME_THING_WITH my_dict[key]
    </F>
    Fredrik Lundh, Apr 21, 2006
    #6
  7. Re: what has python added to programming languages? (lets be esoteric, shall we ;)

    In the Tutorial, the BFDL says:

    Strings can be subscripted (indexed); like in C, the first character of
    a string has subscript (index) 0. There is no separate character type;
    a character is simply a string of size one. Like in Icon, substrings
    can be specified with the slice notation: two indices separated by a
    colon.

    http://www.python.org/doc/current/tut/node5.html#SECTION005120000000000000000
    BartlebyScrivener, Apr 21, 2006
    #7
  8. Fredrik Lundh, Apr 21, 2006
    #8
  9. Re: what has python added to programming languages? (lets be esoteric, shall we ;)

    Wildemar Wildenburger <> wrote:

    > Over the time I've seen lots of remarks about python that read like "a
    > lot like lists in lisp" or "like the hashtable in java" or any other
    > form of "like <feature> in <language>".


    Since Python was released well before Java, saying that a feature in
    Python is "like <a feature> in Java" normally doesn't mean that Python
    imitated Java there -- it's either separate reinvention, or both of them
    imitating another language.


    Alex
    Alex Martelli, Apr 21, 2006
    #9
  10. Re: what has python added to programming languages? (lets be esoteric, shall we ;)

    Although somewhat more elegant, Python slices follow Matlab's slice
    notation. In simpler cases they are identical.

    mt
    Michael Tobis, Apr 21, 2006
    #10
  11. Wildemar Wildenburger

    utabintarbo Guest

    Re: what has python added to programming languages? (lets be esoteric, shall we ;)

    Why does Python have to "add" anything, if it makes "that which came
    before" more easily accessible/usable? Perhaps that is its innovation.
    Is that not sufficient?
    utabintarbo, Apr 21, 2006
    #11
  12. Wildemar Wildenburger

    Paddy Guest

    Re: what has python added to programming languages? (lets be esoteric, shall we ;)

    Might the doctest modules functionality have first occured in Python?
    Paddy, Apr 21, 2006
    #12
  13. Wildemar Wildenburger

    Ravi Teja Guest

    Re: what has python added to programming languages? (lets be esoteric, shall we ;)

    >>"like the hashtable in java"

    People don't give a reference to a language feature only because it
    added/invented it but also because it is a popular one that many are
    familiar with.

    Java did not invent HashTables. They existed long before and were
    available to most languages before Java. Neither is it even a Java
    programming language feature (it's a class in it's standard library).

    Actually, I can't think off the top of my head, any feature in the Java
    language (and I am making no assertions about the implementation of
    specific instances) that was truly innovative. But that's OK.
    Incremental is good.
    Ravi Teja, Apr 22, 2006
    #13
  14. Wildemar Wildenburger

    Tim Chase Guest

    Re: what has python added to programming languages? (lets be esoteric,shall we ; )

    > Actually, I can't think off the top of my head, any
    > feature in the Java language (and I am making no
    > assertions about the implementation of specific
    > instances) that was truly innovative.


    Let's see...it has bytecode compliation. Oh...not original.
    Okay, howsabout cross-platform neutrality? You mean
    there are others?! Okay...how about a humongous class
    library? Nah. It's tough to call Java original...

    Well, Java does have this great feature called "market-hype"...

    -tkc
    Tim Chase, Apr 22, 2006
    #14
  15. Re: what has python added to programming languages? (lets be esoteric, shall we ;)

    In article <>,
    Carl Banks <> wrote:
    >Wildemar Wildenburger wrote:
    >> Are there any concepts that python has not borrowed, concepts that were
    >> not even inspired by other languages? I'm just interested if it is
    >> "merely" a best-of collection of language features or if there are
    >> actually inventions that have not - or hardly - existed in programming
    >> before python?

    >
    >Nesting by indentation

    .
    .
    .
    You *do* realize this was present in ABC, among others, right?
    Cameron Laird, Apr 22, 2006
    #15
  16. Wildemar Wildenburger

    Carl Banks Guest

    Re: what has python added to programming languages? (lets be esoteric, shall we ;)

    Cameron Laird wrote:
    > In article <>,
    > Carl Banks <> wrote:
    > >Wildemar Wildenburger wrote:
    > >> Are there any concepts that python has not borrowed, concepts that were
    > >> not even inspired by other languages? I'm just interested if it is
    > >> "merely" a best-of collection of language features or if there are
    > >> actually inventions that have not - or hardly - existed in programming
    > >> before python?

    > >
    > >Nesting by indentation

    > .
    > You *do* realize this was present in ABC, among others, right?


    Yes. I took the question to mean "what has Python made a commercial
    success out of that wasn't popular before", which I guess was taking
    quite a bit of liberty with it. But he did give us the out of
    "hardly". I think it would be fair to say nesting by indentation
    hardly existed before Python.


    Carl Banks
    Carl Banks, Apr 22, 2006
    #16
  17. Wildemar Wildenburger

    Aahz Guest

    Re: what has python added to programming languages? (lets be esoteric, shall we ;)

    In article <>,
    Carl Banks <> wrote:
    >Cameron Laird wrote:
    >> In article <>,
    >> Carl Banks <> wrote:
    >>>Wildemar Wildenburger wrote:
    >>>>
    >>>> Are there any concepts that python has not borrowed, concepts that were
    >>>> not even inspired by other languages? I'm just interested if it is
    >>>> "merely" a best-of collection of language features or if there are
    >>>> actually inventions that have not - or hardly - existed in programming
    >>>> before python?
    >>>
    >>>Nesting by indentation

    >>
    >> You *do* realize this was present in ABC, among others, right?

    >
    >Yes. I took the question to mean "what has Python made a commercial
    >success out of that wasn't popular before", which I guess was taking
    >quite a bit of liberty with it. But he did give us the out of
    >"hardly". I think it would be fair to say nesting by indentation
    >hardly existed before Python.


    Yup. I started following up to your post exactly as Cameron did before
    I realized the rejoinder you were almost certain to make. So I kept my
    mouth shut. ;-)
    --
    Aahz () <*> http://www.pythoncraft.com/

    "Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they're yours." --Richard Bach
    Aahz, Apr 22, 2006
    #17
  18. Wildemar Wildenburger

    Ravi Teja Guest

    Re: what has python added to programming languages? (lets be esoteric, shall we ; )

    > Well, Java does have this great feature called "market-hype"...

    I ... concede.
    Ravi Teja, Apr 22, 2006
    #18
  19. Wildemar Wildenburger

    Boris Borcic Guest

    Wildemar Wildenburger wrote:
    > Over the time I've seen lots of remarks about python that read like "a
    > lot like lists in lisp" or "like the hashtable in java" or any other
    > form of "like <feature> in <language>".
    >
    > Are there any concepts that python has not borrowed,


    Esoterically speaking, you should better distinguish between historic and
    individual time.

    "Python's foo is like Java's foo" speaks of the individual's "exoteric" order of
    experience with Python and Java, that may reverse "esoteric" historical
    chronology (and in fact, does so).
    Boris Borcic, Apr 24, 2006
    #19
  20. Wildemar Wildenburger

    Guest

    Re: what has python added to programming languages? (lets be esoteric, shall we ;)

    Michael Tobis wrote:
    > Although somewhat more elegant, Python slices follow Matlab's slice
    > notation. In simpler cases they are identical.
    >
    > mt


    I think in Matlab, as in Fortran 90, i:j refers to the elements from i
    up to and including j, unlike Python, where j is excluded. Another
    language with slicing is S, implemented in S-Plus and R. It follows the
    same convention as Fortran.

    The languages treat negative subscripts of lists and arrays
    differently. In Fortran, since lower bounds of arrays can be negative,
    a negative subscript has no special meaning. In S, where arrays start
    with element 1, a negative subscript means that the absolute value of
    the subscript is excluded, so that if array x has three elements, x[-2]
    refers to (x[1],x[3]). In Python, negative indices "wraparound".
    , Apr 24, 2006
    #20
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