Interview with GvR

Here’s an interview with Guido van Rossum, creator of Python… Fairly disappointing in terms of content, I thought, but a couple of interesting comments. He mentions a Python catalog a la CPAN, which would definitely be a good thing.

A comment from a Slashdot reader (in the discussion attached to the article) which I wholeheartedly agree with:

Unless your code is for you and only you, readability is perhaps the single most important feature of your code.

That’s just so true… A counterargument which immediately springs to mind is that correctness is the most important feature, but thinking about it, I think readability really is more important. I mean, you are, inevitably, at some point, going to write code which is not correct. When that happens, you or someone else has to correct it – and if it’s easy to discern what’s going on, that’s bound to happen quicker, and which a greater chance of success.

Another take: Knuth has said (eg here) that computer programming is not (or should not be) just about communicating your intentions to the computer – it’s also about communicating your intentions to other human beings (including yourself). If you subscribe to that, then readability is king.