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Discussion on: Lessons From Advent of Code: Tuple Unpacking

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Ben Sinclair

I don't like this sort of thing for assignments. I think readability suffers too much.

It makes it harder to see at a glance that loc2 and program[pos + 2] are the matching things where the assignment is happening. It gets worse when the names are long (like in this example) and should be wrapped across the next line.

It also makes it harder to merge changes if things aren't kept to one assignment per line.

ekand profile image
Erik Anderson Author

Interesting point. Would you reccomend doing the assignment on four lines? I do see the readability advantage of that.
As I look back on this, assigning the loc variables does more for readability then the tuple assignment does.
I think it's worth adding that this is something Joel Grus hacked to gether, so I don't know whether he would write code this way in all situations.

philipstarkey profile image
Phil Starkey

Given the data is in a list, and sequential, it would be clearer to just directly unpack the list, rather than using an intermediate tuple:

opcode, loc1, loc2, loc3 = program[pos:pos+4]

I think that's readable. But if there isn't an existing relationship between the values, assigning across multiple lines is definitely better for the reasons Ben suggested.

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ekand profile image
Erik Anderson Author


That's clever, and I agree it's readable.