PyWart: Packages (oh how thou art lacking!)


Rick Johnson

The Pros of Python Packages:

Python packages require no special syntax to declare which
modules are members of the package. Instead, Python simply
allows the programmer to utilize the hierarchy of his file
system to decide *which* modules are in *which* packages.

Sure you've got to create a "" file under the
directory which will become the package, which is just one
operation to preform, as opposed to writing "uses package
blah" in every damn source file!

But the real genius is in the consistency!

By utilizing such a novel approach to packaging, the
implementation of Python packages remains consistent with
Python modules. Let's face it people, packaging by any
other means is just re-inventing the wheel!

The Cons of Python Packages:

1. No ability to EASILY share state between package
members. Sure you can import and inject symbols until
you're fingers bleed, but all you've done is create an
unmaintainable spaghetti mess!

2. Attempting to use packages to create a hierarchy of
library modules is even more difficult and opens a
Pandora's box of confusion, circular imports, name errors,
unintended side effects, etc, etc...

What should a package be anyway?

Whilst python packages can be useful, their design is so
woefully inadequate as to render them almost useless. To
describe the disparities using an example:

Imagine if classes were nothing more than an
encapsulation of N functions that share information via
a global variable "self" -- no inheritance, no
polymorphism, no overloading, no blah blah blah...

Sure, i could find a use for such a type, but the usage
would be painfully limited.

So now we find ourselves faced with the reality of the
glaring question --> What the hell should a python package
be exactly?

A package SHOULD be an extrapolation of the namespace
methodology, in the purest form. You start with local
scope, then you proceed to module level scope, then
package level scope (well, that's my wish anyway!), and
finally, global scope[*]

Just as class members can share information easily via
"self", package members should have this ability also.

Some food for thought...

"Namespaces are one honking great idea -- let's do more of

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