[IPython-dev] Should we disable autocall by default from now on?

MinRK benjaminrk@gmail....
Wed Nov 30 16:04:37 CST 2011


On Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 13:50, Robert Kern <robert.kern@gmail.com> wrote:

> On 11/30/11 8:12 PM, MinRK wrote:
> >
> >
> > On Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 11:56, Fernando Perez <fperez.net@gmail.com
> > <mailto:fperez.net@gmail.com>> wrote:
> >
> >     On Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 11:45 AM, Aaron Meurer <asmeurer@gmail.com
> >     <mailto:asmeurer@gmail.com>> wrote:
> >      > So personally, I don't think autocall is friendly to beginner
> users
> >      > even as it is now, for the simple reason that it changes the
> syntax of
> >      > Python.
> >
> >     Yes, there seems to be consensus that autocall should be an expert
> >     tool, and therefore it would be OK to make the default be off.  The
> >     defaults should be chosen to make ipython as beginner-friendly as
> >     possible (while still being more useful than the >>> shell).  Experts
> >     are expected to tweak their config to suit their personal preferences
> >     (e.g., I'll always keep autocall on in 'smart' mode).
> >
> >
> > I think it's exactly the opposite.  autocall is very much a beginner
> tool, for
> > users who have not yet
> > committed Python's syntax to memory.  When they make simple typos,
> autocall
> > helps remind them by saying,
> > "I know what you meant, but here's how you should do it in the future".
>
> But that's not really what the feature does, or what it was intended to
> do. It
> was added solely for the experienced user named Fernando who liked to type
> things fast without needing to use the shift keys. It was not a
> do-what-I-mean
> to correct newbie errors. There is certainly nothing in the message that
> implies
> that you *should* type things differently.
>

Original developer intent doesn't seem relevant.  The fact remains that it
has this effect,
and demonstrably makes IPython a better, friendlier tool for learning
Python. Similarly,
disabling it by default will make IPython better behaved in edge cases, but
less friendly
and less helpful for learning Python.

I'm not saying we shouldn't make the change, just pointing out that there
is a real class of users actively hurt by it.

-MinRK


> --
> Robert Kern
>
> "I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless
> enigma
>  that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it
> had
>  an underlying truth."
>   -- Umberto Eco
>
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