[SciPy-user] How to solve name mangling ?

massimo sandal massimo.sandal@unibo...
Mon Jun 11 08:59:43 CDT 2007

Giorgio Luciano ha scritto:
> I'm enjoying reading all those comments also because sometime metaphors 
> a re risky to use ;)
> (it seems like in a episode of House M.D.) because I can reply..
> if you want to drive a car you need to have a license... ok
> but if you want to drive a car you dont' need to be a mechanich or a 
> mechanic engineer and know how the engine works... otherwise i guess
> there will be really less car drivers .. ;)

Problem is, programming is a science in itself.
I do not work in informatics, nor I have ever studied the theory of 
programming, and the only programming language I have a firm grasp of is 
Python. Still, I don't feel that "programming should be easy for 
everyone". Or better, it should be as easy as possible (I'm currenty 
trying to self-learn C++, and it's quite hellish...) but not easier. 
Otherwise we would all being coding with Logo. So, programming may be 
hard, but we can't expect it must be easy for everyone. It must be just 
as hard as it should be.

(By the way, this is the same mentality of "computers should be easy for 
everyone". Computers are meta-tools, they are extremly complex objects. 
Using them is correspondingly complex. The fact that every layman can 
stay in front of a computer and write an email is a miracle of current 
technology, not something ordinary. We can't expect for computers to 
become much easier than they are today without being dumbed down: we 
must instead expect people to be educated about them.)

IMHO, Python is just that: it is a really easy, ready-to-go language, 
but with all the guts to do everything. In this context, namespaces are 
a damn great Python feature, and using them correctly makes code:
- more readable (because you now that module.function() belongs to 
module, whereas, by importing *, function() , you lose that information)
- more robust (because there is no clash of different modules)
- actually easier (because I do not have to worry that the function() I 
write myself will clash with some other function() I have imported - I 
had extremly quirky bugs due to that)

And it is an extremly simple concept to grasp, IMHO.

I also come from the early days of "from foo import *", and somewhere in 
my apps there are remains of that bad habit. But everytime I can I 
rewrite them correctly, because I quickly learned that importing * is 
the wrong way.

Massimo Sandal
University of Bologna
Department of Biochemistry "G.Moruzzi"

snail mail:
Via Irnerio 48, 40126 Bologna, Italy


tel: +39-051-2094388
fax: +39-051-2094387
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