OT: The Straight Dope

Discussion in 'Python' started by Jeff Bauer, Oct 7, 2003.

  1. Jeff Bauer

    Jeff Bauer Guest

    As a longtime reader (20+ years) of Cecil Adams'
    "Straight Dope" columns, I was amused to find a
    brief mention of Python programming in today's
    response to the following question.

    "What's the 'Scroll Lock' key on my computer for?"


    "However, programmers, being loath to let extraneous
    keys sit unused on a keyboard, have found use for
    [backquote] as an operator in the LISP and Python
    programming languages."

    if-tim-is-sherlock-then-cecil-must-be-mycroft-ly y'rs,

    Jeff Bauer
    Rubicon Research
    Jeff Bauer, Oct 7, 2003
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  2. It might have something to do with the CMU Common Lisp compiler, also
    named Python ?

    Just my 2 cents...
    Bruno Desthuilliers, Oct 7, 2003
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  3. Jeff Bauer

    Andrew Dalke Guest

    Bruno Desthuilliers:
    No. Backticks are another way of doing repr. Few use it.

    Andrew Dalke, Oct 7, 2003
  4. Woops. I forgot this...
    as you say : '"Few use it." !-)

    Bruno Desthuilliers, Oct 8, 2003
  5. Jeff Bauer

    Nick Vargish Guest

    Just a correction; the SD article quoted in the previous post was
    written by a Staff Reporter ("Una Persson"), not the exalted
    Cecil Adams himself.

    I did think it was funny that Python was mentioned, but Perl was
    slighted -- backticks are much more common in Perl code than in
    Python code, at least in my experience.

    Nick Vargish, Oct 8, 2003
  6. Although in Python, it's now sitting there as an
    almost-unused operator, which isn't much better a

    I propose we rescue "`" from this sadly neglected status
    and use it for the matrix multiplication operator that
    was much sought after in certain circles a while back...
    Greg Ewing (using news.cis.dfn.de), Oct 13, 2003
  7. Hey, the C-shell in UNIX uses backquote also... I do *not*
    know about bash, ksh, or sh.
    Charles Richmond, Oct 26, 2003
  8. Jeff Bauer

    Nick Vargish Guest

    I believe the Bourne shell is where the backticks as "execute string
    and replace with output" began. BTW, you should learn a Bourne shell
    (I like zsh, but bash is okay, ksh and sh are a little basic for
    interactive use) -- very few system scripts are written in C-shell. In
    fact, C-shell programming generally seems to be deprecated in most

    Nick Vargish, Oct 27, 2003
  9. .
    <URL: http://frmb.org/csh_whynot.html > canonically
    summarizes why csh programming is naughty and ener-
    Cameron Laird, Oct 27, 2003
  10. Jeff Bauer

    joe Guest

    joe, Oct 27, 2003
  11. Nick Vargish fed this fish to the penguins on Monday 27 October 2003
    09:47 am:
    Though, if I may drag in some decade old history, tcsh was quite
    comfortable to someone used to the Amiga's CLI -- no experience with
    actual scripting, but at the interactive level when I had a shell
    account with Netcom, using tcsh minimized confusion between the two

    Dennis Lee Bieber, Oct 28, 2003
  12. Jeff Bauer

    Nick Vargish Guest

    Right, tcsh wasn't bad as an interactive shell; until zsh showed up,
    it was probably the best choice since it had a number of features that
    sh lacked (filename completion being the big one, but the history
    facilities were handy too).

    The papers cited by other posters, which I was too lazy to google for,
    are mostly arguments against programming in (t)csh.

    It's nice to be able to write off-the-cuff scripts on the command line
    in the same language you write your system admin scripts in. That's
    why zsh and bash are so great -- all the interactive features of tcsh
    (and more!) in a regular and sane Bourne syntax.

    Nick Vargish, Oct 28, 2003
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