Just take a look at the code again. In the if/else clause we are returning greet and welcome, not greet() and welcome(). Why is that? It’s because when you put a pair of parentheses after it, the function gets executed; whereas if you don’t put parenthesis after it, then it can be passed around and can be assigned to other variables without executing it. Did you get it? Let me explain it in a little bit more detail. When we write a = hi(), hi() gets executed and because the name is yasoob by default, the function greet is returned. If we change the statement to a = hi(name = "ali") then the welcome function will be returned. We can also do print hi()() which outputs now you are in the greet() function.
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In this snippet we have a class hierarchy with a SimpleMessage at the top. The SimpleMessage class has a constructor that accepts a content string as well as two methods: GetMessage; and, PrintMessage. Down the hierarchy we have three subclasses: ExcitedMessage; QuizzicalMessage; and, ExcitedAndQuizzicalMessage. The only difference in the subclasses is that they override the SimpleMessage constructor to change the content string and append various exclamations. When we instantiate various message objects, using the same content string, and iterate over them, each has their own unique output.
In Python 2.4a3 (to be released this Thursday), everything remains as currently in CVS. For 2.4b1, I will consider a change of @ to some other single character, even though I think that @ has the advantage of being the same character used by a similar feature in Java. It's been argued that it's not quite the same, since @ in Java is used for attributes that don't change semantics. But Python's dynamic nature makes that its syntactic elements never mean quite the same thing as similar constructs in other languages, and there is definitely significant overlap. Regarding the impact on 3rd party tools: IPython's author doesn't think there's going to be much impact; Leo's author has said that Leo will survive (although it will cause him and his users some transitional pain). I actually expect that picking a character that's already used elsewhere in Python's syntax might be harder for external tools to adapt to, since parsing will have to be more subtle in that case. But I'm frankly undecided, so there's some wiggle room here. I don't want to consider further syntactic alternatives at this point: the buck has to stop at some point, everyone has had their say, and the show must go on.
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