Keir Mierle wrote:
I do not want to descend into a huge, time wasting discussion of this which is not productive.
Well, it's been said before, and this isn't really the place for it, but it's quite critical to your project. Don't let any of this get in the way of improving docs strings, however!
Note that I am not suggesting a recursive import of submodules.
What you appeared to support was that all of the matplotlib, numpy and scipy base namespaces be merged, and they should all be merged into the main namespace.
import matplotlib as plot
import numpy as N
import Scipy.whatever as whatever.
UGH. See, this is my issue. When I read someone else's code, they always chose a different convention.
Good point, that is a bit of a pain. It would certainly be a good idea to standardize at least these three, and have them be imported by default in your environment (though I'm not sure about scipy -- numpy and matplotlib would be good)
If we define the official way to use pylab as 'from pylab import *', then these problems vanish.
and others arise. One is that you then have to make sure you don't' get any name clashes you don't want, so you end up with arange, so it won't clash with range. etc.
Note that we must be *very* careful to export only exactly the names which should be exported;
Then how do you get the others? "import *" and "import pylab"?
Because it is always the case
that I use numpy and pylab together.
I use numpy every day without pylab. And I use pylab occasionally without numpy, it accepts regular old lists for quick hacking.
This is a key point -- if all anyone does is use your mega-pylab, then you may be right, but let's not cripple people. Let them start using PyLab for matlab-like quickie coding, then decide to write a real app, and be able to start using wxPython without learning a bunch of new stuff, and having namespaces clash.
Other non-core modules should be treated as usual, where it is at the author's discretion for how to import them.
Everyone's idea of non-core is different
Even if you insist on joining numpy and plotting namespaces (they are both too big at the moment, if you ask me), please tell people to import it as:
I think a consensus is building in the python community that you should NEVER use import *!
wxPython used to be commonly used as:
from wxpython import *
And the names were all: wxSomeName.
A few years back, the names were all changed to remove the wx, and we now all do:
this = wx.SomeName(...)
Numeric was designed to be used with "import *". Now many of the old Numeric functions are available as numpy methods, and more and more people are using some variation of:
import numpy as N
and fewer are using "import *"
Does anyone else have any other examples?
One more reason: more IDEs are providing auto-completion and module browsers. Smaller, more hierarchical namespaces are much better for this. I know if I'm looking for a number crunching or a plotting function -- make it easier to find them.
I think Scott Meyer, a C++ luminary, said it best  when this heinous
fragment of his code was posted in comp.lang.c++.moderated
namespaces are a new add-on to C++ -- it will be a good while before they are used right there!
This is only for the core functionality. The scipy/numpy/matplotlib core API becomes similar in importance to Python's __builtins__ for the PyLab
and __builtins__ is too big as it is. -- 31 of those are Exceptions, they should have their own namespace, if you ask me. Would it be that much harder to type
I argue that Python's __builtins__ should be equivalent to PyLab's from pylab
import *, and that e.g. import sys corresponds to import linalg.
But then you have __builtins__ and pylab in the same namespace!
Perhaps non-interactively; when using the system interactively the MATLAB
interface is by far the best way to go. If someone proposes an oo interface
which is as fast to type and as easy to understand as the MATLAB interface
(i.e. to demo to my friends who came over to see what I'm talking about when I
say that PyLab is great) then I'm all ears.
Look for my (and other) posts about this for more detail, but a few points:
1) Don't break long-term productivity/useability so that the quicky demos are more impressive. Python's real strength over tools like Matlab shows up when projects get bigger.
2) There is nothing about an OO interface that is inherently harder to use, or even more typing, except perhaps a few extra dots.
3) There is some work to be done to bring the matplotlib OO interface up to its potential for interactive use, particularly the docs!
Note that this discussion is early! I am waaaay not here yet; first step is to fix the docstrings.
Yes, enough said for now -- and I really appreciate your efforts to clean up the docstrings.
Christopher Barker, Ph.D.
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