Mainly Tech projects on Python and Electronic Design Automation.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Python: Concise

I have spent several years both reading and contributing to comp.lang.python. Yet another thread on proposed language changes together with replies pointing out that Python tries to be both short and clear set me off on a tangent trying to find that one adjective that captured that property of Python.



After some online research using Chambers, (do they use Python on their website? The link includes /chref.py/); AskOxford; and Thesaurus.com, I introduced myself to the alt.usage.english newsgroup and asked them to help me improve on my then best candidate word - succinct.



After some useful dialogue I received a private email through the newsgroup from Orlando Enrique suggesting concise. Acting quite mechanically I went and did a search on AskOxford for concise and got many more hits than I expected, and then it dawned on me, the publishers of the Oxford dictionary use the word concise in the title of their abridged works to convey just what I wanted for Python: it is short, comprehensive, and clear. Any shorter would affect clarity. Any longer would not be necessary.



So in summary: Try Python, it's concise.

3 comments:

  1. But i think this is too short.

    Take another example, lets say a programmer uses any language, and tries to use the most concise style possible (most of the timne this means the fewest lines of code to achieve a given solution for a problem).

    I think "Python is concise" is way too short to address the language :-)

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  2. I was trying to find something that addresses the new Python users who want to add a new feature to the language because it will make a small section of their code a few characters shorter, but arguably , no clearer - or often less clear to the majority of posters.

    I am well aware that you cannot define Python by one word, but at the same time, I do find the need to express Pythons clarity as well as its brevity repeats itself.

    - Paddy.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Having just re-read Paul Graham's essay Succinctness is power I think he has the wrong word (but there is not much in it).
    AskOxford gives the definition of concise as: giving a lot of information clearly and in few words., and the definition of succinct as briefly and clearly expressed.

    - Paddy.

    ReplyDelete

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