Ned Batchelder

On reading code with your eyebrows  ↦

Ned Batchelder, after reading some code to termine whether or not it was “Pythonic”:

My first response was that I don’t like this code, because I had to read it with my eyebrows. That is, I furrow my brow, and read slowly, and scowl at the code as I puzzle through it. This code is dense and tricky.

Is it Pythonic? I guess in the sense that it uses a number of Python-specific constructs and tools, yes. But not in the sense of Python code being clear and straightforward. It uses Python thoroughly, but misses the spirit.

(He then rewrites it in a way that he likes. Which solution do you prefer?)

I’m no Pythonista, so I don’t know what is or isn’t “Pythonic”. However, I do know that I love the phrase, “read it with my eyebrows”, because I’ve quite literally done this my entire career. I used to invoke my eyebrows and conclude that I was just bad at reading code. Now when I invoke them I conclude that the code I’m reading is bad.


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