[Numpy-discussion] Deprecate chararray [was Plea for help]

Travis Oliphant oliphant@enthought....
Thu Aug 20 19:06:02 CDT 2009

On Aug 20, 2009, at 2:04 PM, David Cournapeau wrote:

> On Thu, Aug 20, 2009 at 10:32 AM, Christopher  
> Hanley<chanley@stsci.edu> wrote:
>> Another concern is that we told people coming from numarray to use
>> this module.  It is my opinion that at this point in the numpy  
>> release
>> cycle that an API change needs a very strong justification.   
>> Anecdotes
>> about the number of users, a "change or die" philosophy, and an un-
>> articulated notion of  "the spirit of numpy"  do not in my
>> consideration meet that high bar.
> I agree those are not strong reasons without more backing.  What
> worries me the most, in both numpy and scipy, is code that nobody
> knows about, without any test or documentation. When it breaks, we
> can't fix it. That's unsustainable in the long term, because it takes
> a lot of time that people could spend somewhere else more useful.
> Especially when you have C code which does not work on some platforms,
> with new version of python (python 3k port, for example).

The claim that "chararray" is not understood is not true.   I know  
about the code.  It's not that difficult of a piece of code.   It's  
utility can be questioned, but it was and may still be an important  
part of Numarray compatibilty.

I was asked a question that I didn't have time to answer properly (it  
would have taken more than 5 minutes).   That lack of answer does not  
constitute "nobody knows about" the code.    It's a great idea to add  
to the docstring that the code was created for compatibility with  
numarray.  But, I'm not convinced by any of the given reasons to  
remove the code from NumPy.


Travis Oliphant
Enthought Inc.

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