Additional motivation for this project

While ideas such as the f-strings and especially the walrus operator were discussed on Python-ideas and similar places, many people were opposed to them being added to Python. This likely lead to the following explanation added in PEP 572:

The importance of real code

During the development of this PEP many people (supporters and critics both) have had a tendency to focus on toy examples on the one hand, and on overly complex examples on the other.

The danger of toy examples is twofold: they are often too abstract to make anyone go “ooh, that’s compelling”, and they are easily refuted with “I would never write it that way anyway”.

The danger of overly complex examples is that they provide a convenient strawman for critics of the proposal to shoot down (“that’s obfuscated”).

Yet there is some use for both extremely simple and extremely complex examples: they are helpful to clarify the intended semantics.

However, once it became possible for programmers to write their own code using either the f-strings or the walrus operator instead of just reading examples from PEP 572, it seems that everyone became enthusiastic about them.

If only it were possible to write short programs using currently invalid syntax to truly get a feel for it rather than just complaining based on reading a few examples. This is what ideas can help accomplish.

Tip

You can skip the rest of this section if you already know that you want to use an import hook and are not interested in the origin of this project, nor about its intended usage.

Original motivation

Programming in Python is my main hobby. As an amateur, I like to explore various ideas, learning along the way. As I find myself doing a lot of copy-paste-modify on the various import hooks experiments, including on some published projects such as AvantPy as well as various experiments I wrote about, I thought it would make sense to create a versatile projects which I could use as the basis of other projects. An obvious benefit is that I will need to fix bugs in a single project. Furthermore, if this project gets enough visibility, some programmers much more qualified than I am might take the time to make concrete suggestions as to how to improve it.

Additional motivation

Often, on Python-ideas, a suggestion is made to someone that proposes something new to try it by modifying Python using an import hook. For example:

You can pretty easily write an import hook to intercept module loading at the AST level and transform it however you want.

However, as Steve d’Aprano replied:

I think that the majority of Python programmers have no idea that you can even write an import hook at all, let alone how to do it.

I have yet to see a case of someone, other than perhaps some core developers, following up on suggestions to try writing an import hook to test a proposal on Python-ideas. I believe, like Steve d’Aprano wrote, that the main reason is that most people do not know how to do this.

So, by creating this project, I’m hoping that enough examples will be created that could be easily adapted for exploring proposals submitted to Python-ideas. If that is the case, I will likely benefit as well as advanced Python programmers might be interested enough to make suggestions as to how to improve this project.

About the name

For this project, I was thinking of using importhook (singular) or importhooks (plural). However, there is already a package named importhook on Pypi and I thought that using the plural form would likely be just too confusing.

I settled on ideas as I am guessing that the main application would be for people to try out suggestions from or for Python-ideas.

As I was looking at including other examples than the ones I mentioned previously, I came accross Andrew Barnert’s Stupid Python Ideas blog, which includes an older post about Hacking Python with import hooks. I have been thinking about adopting some of his examples, which I would not describe as stupid but rather as entertaining ideas.