File: glossary.rst

package info (click to toggle)
python2.7 2.7.16-2
  • links: PTS, VCS
  • area: main
  • in suites: buster
  • size: 78,500 kB
  • sloc: python: 469,695; ansic: 444,315; sh: 17,604; asm: 14,304; makefile: 4,899; objc: 761; exp: 499; cpp: 128; xml: 76
file content (754 lines) | stat: -rw-r--r-- 37,396 bytes parent folder | download | duplicates (2)
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
75
76
77
78
79
80
81
82
83
84
85
86
87
88
89
90
91
92
93
94
95
96
97
98
99
100
101
102
103
104
105
106
107
108
109
110
111
112
113
114
115
116
117
118
119
120
121
122
123
124
125
126
127
128
129
130
131
132
133
134
135
136
137
138
139
140
141
142
143
144
145
146
147
148
149
150
151
152
153
154
155
156
157
158
159
160
161
162
163
164
165
166
167
168
169
170
171
172
173
174
175
176
177
178
179
180
181
182
183
184
185
186
187
188
189
190
191
192
193
194
195
196
197
198
199
200
201
202
203
204
205
206
207
208
209
210
211
212
213
214
215
216
217
218
219
220
221
222
223
224
225
226
227
228
229
230
231
232
233
234
235
236
237
238
239
240
241
242
243
244
245
246
247
248
249
250
251
252
253
254
255
256
257
258
259
260
261
262
263
264
265
266
267
268
269
270
271
272
273
274
275
276
277
278
279
280
281
282
283
284
285
286
287
288
289
290
291
292
293
294
295
296
297
298
299
300
301
302
303
304
305
306
307
308
309
310
311
312
313
314
315
316
317
318
319
320
321
322
323
324
325
326
327
328
329
330
331
332
333
334
335
336
337
338
339
340
341
342
343
344
345
346
347
348
349
350
351
352
353
354
355
356
357
358
359
360
361
362
363
364
365
366
367
368
369
370
371
372
373
374
375
376
377
378
379
380
381
382
383
384
385
386
387
388
389
390
391
392
393
394
395
396
397
398
399
400
401
402
403
404
405
406
407
408
409
410
411
412
413
414
415
416
417
418
419
420
421
422
423
424
425
426
427
428
429
430
431
432
433
434
435
436
437
438
439
440
441
442
443
444
445
446
447
448
449
450
451
452
453
454
455
456
457
458
459
460
461
462
463
464
465
466
467
468
469
470
471
472
473
474
475
476
477
478
479
480
481
482
483
484
485
486
487
488
489
490
491
492
493
494
495
496
497
498
499
500
501
502
503
504
505
506
507
508
509
510
511
512
513
514
515
516
517
518
519
520
521
522
523
524
525
526
527
528
529
530
531
532
533
534
535
536
537
538
539
540
541
542
543
544
545
546
547
548
549
550
551
552
553
554
555
556
557
558
559
560
561
562
563
564
565
566
567
568
569
570
571
572
573
574
575
576
577
578
579
580
581
582
583
584
585
586
587
588
589
590
591
592
593
594
595
596
597
598
599
600
601
602
603
604
605
606
607
608
609
610
611
612
613
614
615
616
617
618
619
620
621
622
623
624
625
626
627
628
629
630
631
632
633
634
635
636
637
638
639
640
641
642
643
644
645
646
647
648
649
650
651
652
653
654
655
656
657
658
659
660
661
662
663
664
665
666
667
668
669
670
671
672
673
674
675
676
677
678
679
680
681
682
683
684
685
686
687
688
689
690
691
692
693
694
695
696
697
698
699
700
701
702
703
704
705
706
707
708
709
710
711
712
713
714
715
716
717
718
719
720
721
722
723
724
725
726
727
728
729
730
731
732
733
734
735
736
737
738
739
740
741
742
743
744
745
746
747
748
749
750
751
752
753
754
.. _glossary:

********
Glossary
********

.. if you add new entries, keep the alphabetical sorting!

.. glossary::

   ``>>>``
      The default Python prompt of the interactive shell.  Often seen for code
      examples which can be executed interactively in the interpreter.

   ``...``
      The default Python prompt of the interactive shell when entering code for
      an indented code block, when within a pair of matching left and right
      delimiters (parentheses, square brackets, curly braces or triple quotes),
      or after specifying a decorator.

   2to3
      A tool that tries to convert Python 2.x code to Python 3.x code by
      handling most of the incompatibilities which can be detected by parsing the
      source and traversing the parse tree.

      2to3 is available in the standard library as :mod:`lib2to3`; a standalone
      entry point is provided as :file:`Tools/scripts/2to3`.  See
      :ref:`2to3-reference`.

   abstract base class
      Abstract base classes complement :term:`duck-typing` by
      providing a way to define interfaces when other techniques like
      :func:`hasattr` would be clumsy or subtly wrong (for example with
      :ref:`magic methods <new-style-special-lookup>`).  ABCs introduce virtual
      subclasses, which are classes that don't inherit from a class but are
      still recognized by :func:`isinstance` and :func:`issubclass`; see the
      :mod:`abc` module documentation.  Python comes with many built-in ABCs for
      data structures (in the :mod:`collections` module), numbers (in the
      :mod:`numbers` module), and streams (in the :mod:`io` module). You can
      create your own ABCs with the :mod:`abc` module.

   argument
      A value passed to a :term:`function` (or :term:`method`) when calling the
      function.  There are two types of arguments:

      * :dfn:`keyword argument`: an argument preceded by an identifier (e.g.
        ``name=``) in a function call or passed as a value in a dictionary
        preceded by ``**``.  For example, ``3`` and ``5`` are both keyword
        arguments in the following calls to :func:`complex`::

           complex(real=3, imag=5)
           complex(**{'real': 3, 'imag': 5})

      * :dfn:`positional argument`: an argument that is not a keyword argument.
        Positional arguments can appear at the beginning of an argument list
        and/or be passed as elements of an :term:`iterable` preceded by ``*``.
        For example, ``3`` and ``5`` are both positional arguments in the
        following calls::

           complex(3, 5)
           complex(*(3, 5))

      Arguments are assigned to the named local variables in a function body.
      See the :ref:`calls` section for the rules governing this assignment.
      Syntactically, any expression can be used to represent an argument; the
      evaluated value is assigned to the local variable.

      See also the :term:`parameter` glossary entry and the FAQ question on
      :ref:`the difference between arguments and parameters
      <faq-argument-vs-parameter>`.

   attribute
      A value associated with an object which is referenced by name using
      dotted expressions.  For example, if an object *o* has an attribute
      *a* it would be referenced as *o.a*.

   BDFL
      Benevolent Dictator For Life, a.k.a. `Guido van Rossum
      <https://www.python.org/~guido/>`_, Python's creator.

   bytes-like object
      An object that supports the :ref:`buffer protocol <bufferobjects>`,
      like :class:`str`, :class:`bytearray` or :class:`memoryview`.
      Bytes-like objects can be used for various operations that expect
      binary data, such as compression, saving to a binary file or sending
      over a socket. Some operations need the binary data to be mutable,
      in which case not all bytes-like objects can apply.

   bytecode
      Python source code is compiled into bytecode, the internal representation
      of a Python program in the CPython interpreter.  The bytecode is also
      cached in ``.pyc`` and ``.pyo`` files so that executing the same file is
      faster the second time (recompilation from source to bytecode can be
      avoided).  This "intermediate language" is said to run on a
      :term:`virtual machine` that executes the machine code corresponding to
      each bytecode. Do note that bytecodes are not expected to work between
      different Python virtual machines, nor to be stable between Python
      releases.

      A list of bytecode instructions can be found in the documentation for
      :ref:`the dis module <bytecodes>`.

   class
      A template for creating user-defined objects. Class definitions
      normally contain method definitions which operate on instances of the
      class.

   classic class
      Any class which does not inherit from :class:`object`.  See
      :term:`new-style class`.  Classic classes have been removed in Python 3.

   coercion
      The implicit conversion of an instance of one type to another during an
      operation which involves two arguments of the same type.  For example,
      ``int(3.15)`` converts the floating point number to the integer ``3``, but
      in ``3+4.5``, each argument is of a different type (one int, one float),
      and both must be converted to the same type before they can be added or it
      will raise a ``TypeError``.  Coercion between two operands can be
      performed with the ``coerce`` built-in function; thus, ``3+4.5`` is
      equivalent to calling ``operator.add(*coerce(3, 4.5))`` and results in
      ``operator.add(3.0, 4.5)``.  Without coercion, all arguments of even
      compatible types would have to be normalized to the same value by the
      programmer, e.g., ``float(3)+4.5`` rather than just ``3+4.5``.

   complex number
      An extension of the familiar real number system in which all numbers are
      expressed as a sum of a real part and an imaginary part.  Imaginary
      numbers are real multiples of the imaginary unit (the square root of
      ``-1``), often written ``i`` in mathematics or ``j`` in
      engineering.  Python has built-in support for complex numbers, which are
      written with this latter notation; the imaginary part is written with a
      ``j`` suffix, e.g., ``3+1j``.  To get access to complex equivalents of the
      :mod:`math` module, use :mod:`cmath`.  Use of complex numbers is a fairly
      advanced mathematical feature.  If you're not aware of a need for them,
      it's almost certain you can safely ignore them.

   context manager
      An object which controls the environment seen in a :keyword:`with`
      statement by defining :meth:`__enter__` and :meth:`__exit__` methods.
      See :pep:`343`.

   CPython
      The canonical implementation of the Python programming language, as
      distributed on `python.org <https://www.python.org>`_.  The term "CPython"
      is used when necessary to distinguish this implementation from others
      such as Jython or IronPython.

   decorator
      A function returning another function, usually applied as a function
      transformation using the ``@wrapper`` syntax.  Common examples for
      decorators are :func:`classmethod` and :func:`staticmethod`.

      The decorator syntax is merely syntactic sugar, the following two
      function definitions are semantically equivalent::

         def f(...):
             ...
         f = staticmethod(f)

         @staticmethod
         def f(...):
             ...

      The same concept exists for classes, but is less commonly used there.  See
      the documentation for :ref:`function definitions <function>` and
      :ref:`class definitions <class>` for more about decorators.

   descriptor
      Any *new-style* object which defines the methods :meth:`__get__`,
      :meth:`__set__`, or :meth:`__delete__`.  When a class attribute is a
      descriptor, its special binding behavior is triggered upon attribute
      lookup.  Normally, using *a.b* to get, set or delete an attribute looks up
      the object named *b* in the class dictionary for *a*, but if *b* is a
      descriptor, the respective descriptor method gets called.  Understanding
      descriptors is a key to a deep understanding of Python because they are
      the basis for many features including functions, methods, properties,
      class methods, static methods, and reference to super classes.

      For more information about descriptors' methods, see :ref:`descriptors`.

   dictionary
      An associative array, where arbitrary keys are mapped to values.  The
      keys can be any object with :meth:`__hash__`  and :meth:`__eq__` methods.
      Called a hash in Perl.

   dictionary view
      The objects returned from :meth:`dict.viewkeys`, :meth:`dict.viewvalues`,
      and :meth:`dict.viewitems` are called dictionary views. They provide a dynamic
      view on the dictionary’s entries, which means that when the dictionary
      changes, the view reflects these changes. To force the
      dictionary view to become a full list use ``list(dictview)``.  See
      :ref:`dict-views`.

   docstring
      A string literal which appears as the first expression in a class,
      function or module.  While ignored when the suite is executed, it is
      recognized by the compiler and put into the :attr:`__doc__` attribute
      of the enclosing class, function or module.  Since it is available via
      introspection, it is the canonical place for documentation of the
      object.

   duck-typing
      A programming style which does not look at an object's type to determine
      if it has the right interface; instead, the method or attribute is simply
      called or used ("If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it
      must be a duck.")  By emphasizing interfaces rather than specific types,
      well-designed code improves its flexibility by allowing polymorphic
      substitution.  Duck-typing avoids tests using :func:`type` or
      :func:`isinstance`.  (Note, however, that duck-typing can be complemented
      with :term:`abstract base classes <abstract base class>`.)  Instead, it
      typically employs :func:`hasattr` tests or :term:`EAFP` programming.

   EAFP
      Easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.  This common Python coding
      style assumes the existence of valid keys or attributes and catches
      exceptions if the assumption proves false.  This clean and fast style is
      characterized by the presence of many :keyword:`try` and :keyword:`except`
      statements.  The technique contrasts with the :term:`LBYL` style
      common to many other languages such as C.

   expression
      A piece of syntax which can be evaluated to some value.  In other words,
      an expression is an accumulation of expression elements like literals,
      names, attribute access, operators or function calls which all return a
      value.  In contrast to many other languages, not all language constructs
      are expressions.  There are also :term:`statement`\s which cannot be used
      as expressions, such as :keyword:`print` or :keyword:`if`.  Assignments
      are also statements, not expressions.

   extension module
      A module written in C or C++, using Python's C API to interact with the
      core and with user code.

   file object
      An object exposing a file-oriented API (with methods such as
      :meth:`read()` or :meth:`write()`) to an underlying resource.  Depending
      on the way it was created, a file object can mediate access to a real
      on-disk file or to another type of storage or communication device
      (for example standard input/output, in-memory buffers, sockets, pipes,
      etc.).  File objects are also called :dfn:`file-like objects` or
      :dfn:`streams`.

      There are actually three categories of file objects: raw binary files,
      buffered binary files and text files.  Their interfaces are defined in the
      :mod:`io` module.  The canonical way to create a file object is by using
      the :func:`open` function.

   file-like object
      A synonym for :term:`file object`.

   finder
      An object that tries to find the :term:`loader` for a module. It must
      implement a method named :meth:`find_module`. See :pep:`302` for
      details.

   floor division
      Mathematical division that rounds down to nearest integer.  The floor
      division operator is ``//``.  For example, the expression ``11 // 4``
      evaluates to ``2`` in contrast to the ``2.75`` returned by float true
      division.  Note that ``(-11) // 4`` is ``-3`` because that is ``-2.75``
      rounded *downward*. See :pep:`238`.

   function
      A series of statements which returns some value to a caller. It can also
      be passed zero or more :term:`arguments <argument>` which may be used in
      the execution of the body. See also :term:`parameter`, :term:`method`,
      and the :ref:`function` section.

   __future__
      A pseudo-module which programmers can use to enable new language features
      which are not compatible with the current interpreter.  For example, the
      expression ``11/4`` currently evaluates to ``2``. If the module in which
      it is executed had enabled *true division* by executing::

         from __future__ import division

      the expression ``11/4`` would evaluate to ``2.75``.  By importing the
      :mod:`__future__` module and evaluating its variables, you can see when a
      new feature was first added to the language and when it will become the
      default::

         >>> import __future__
         >>> __future__.division
         _Feature((2, 2, 0, 'alpha', 2), (3, 0, 0, 'alpha', 0), 8192)

   garbage collection
      The process of freeing memory when it is not used anymore.  Python
      performs garbage collection via reference counting and a cyclic garbage
      collector that is able to detect and break reference cycles.

      .. index:: single: generator

   generator
      A function which returns an iterator.  It looks like a normal function
      except that it contains :keyword:`yield` statements for producing a series
      of values usable in a for-loop or that can be retrieved one at a time with
      the :func:`next` function. Each :keyword:`yield` temporarily suspends
      processing, remembering the location execution state (including local
      variables and pending try-statements).  When the generator resumes, it
      picks up where it left off (in contrast to functions which start fresh on
      every invocation).

      .. index:: single: generator expression

   generator expression
      An expression that returns an iterator.  It looks like a normal expression
      followed by a :keyword:`for` expression defining a loop variable, range,
      and an optional :keyword:`if` expression.  The combined expression
      generates values for an enclosing function::

         >>> sum(i*i for i in range(10))         # sum of squares 0, 1, 4, ... 81
         285

   GIL
      See :term:`global interpreter lock`.

   global interpreter lock
      The mechanism used by the :term:`CPython` interpreter to assure that
      only one thread executes Python :term:`bytecode` at a time.
      This simplifies the CPython implementation by making the object model
      (including critical built-in types such as :class:`dict`) implicitly
      safe against concurrent access.  Locking the entire interpreter
      makes it easier for the interpreter to be multi-threaded, at the
      expense of much of the parallelism afforded by multi-processor
      machines.

      However, some extension modules, either standard or third-party,
      are designed so as to release the GIL when doing computationally-intensive
      tasks such as compression or hashing.  Also, the GIL is always released
      when doing I/O.

      Past efforts to create a "free-threaded" interpreter (one which locks
      shared data at a much finer granularity) have not been successful
      because performance suffered in the common single-processor case. It
      is believed that overcoming this performance issue would make the
      implementation much more complicated and therefore costlier to maintain.

   hashable
      An object is *hashable* if it has a hash value which never changes during
      its lifetime (it needs a :meth:`__hash__` method), and can be compared to
      other objects (it needs an :meth:`__eq__` or :meth:`__cmp__` method).
      Hashable objects which compare equal must have the same hash value.

      Hashability makes an object usable as a dictionary key and a set member,
      because these data structures use the hash value internally.

      All of Python's immutable built-in objects are hashable, while no mutable
      containers (such as lists or dictionaries) are.  Objects which are
      instances of user-defined classes are hashable by default; they all
      compare unequal (except with themselves), and their hash value is derived
      from their :func:`id`.

   IDLE
      An Integrated Development Environment for Python.  IDLE is a basic editor
      and interpreter environment which ships with the standard distribution of
      Python.

   immutable
      An object with a fixed value.  Immutable objects include numbers, strings and
      tuples.  Such an object cannot be altered.  A new object has to
      be created if a different value has to be stored.  They play an important
      role in places where a constant hash value is needed, for example as a key
      in a dictionary.

   integer division
      Mathematical division discarding any remainder.  For example, the
      expression ``11/4`` currently evaluates to ``2`` in contrast to the
      ``2.75`` returned by float division.  Also called *floor division*.
      When dividing two integers the outcome will always be another integer
      (having the floor function applied to it). However, if one of the operands
      is another numeric type (such as a :class:`float`), the result will be
      coerced (see :term:`coercion`) to a common type.  For example, an integer
      divided by a float will result in a float value, possibly with a decimal
      fraction.  Integer division can be forced by using the ``//`` operator
      instead of the ``/`` operator.  See also :term:`__future__`.

   importing
      The process by which Python code in one module is made available to
      Python code in another module.

   importer
      An object that both finds and loads a module; both a
      :term:`finder` and :term:`loader` object.

   interactive
      Python has an interactive interpreter which means you can enter
      statements and expressions at the interpreter prompt, immediately
      execute them and see their results.  Just launch ``python`` with no
      arguments (possibly by selecting it from your computer's main
      menu). It is a very powerful way to test out new ideas or inspect
      modules and packages (remember ``help(x)``).

   interpreted
      Python is an interpreted language, as opposed to a compiled one,
      though the distinction can be blurry because of the presence of the
      bytecode compiler.  This means that source files can be run directly
      without explicitly creating an executable which is then run.
      Interpreted languages typically have a shorter development/debug cycle
      than compiled ones, though their programs generally also run more
      slowly.  See also :term:`interactive`.

   iterable
      An object capable of returning its members one at a time. Examples of
      iterables include all sequence types (such as :class:`list`, :class:`str`,
      and :class:`tuple`) and some non-sequence types like :class:`dict`
      and :class:`file` and objects of any classes you define
      with an :meth:`__iter__` or :meth:`__getitem__` method.  Iterables can be
      used in a :keyword:`for` loop and in many other places where a sequence is
      needed (:func:`zip`, :func:`map`, ...).  When an iterable object is passed
      as an argument to the built-in function :func:`iter`, it returns an
      iterator for the object.  This iterator is good for one pass over the set
      of values.  When using iterables, it is usually not necessary to call
      :func:`iter` or deal with iterator objects yourself.  The ``for``
      statement does that automatically for you, creating a temporary unnamed
      variable to hold the iterator for the duration of the loop.  See also
      :term:`iterator`, :term:`sequence`, and :term:`generator`.

   iterator
      An object representing a stream of data.  Repeated calls to the iterator's
      :meth:`~generator.next` method return successive items in the stream.  When no more
      data are available a :exc:`StopIteration` exception is raised instead.  At
      this point, the iterator object is exhausted and any further calls to its
      :meth:`~generator.next` method just raise :exc:`StopIteration` again.  Iterators are
      required to have an :meth:`__iter__` method that returns the iterator
      object itself so every iterator is also iterable and may be used in most
      places where other iterables are accepted.  One notable exception is code
      which attempts multiple iteration passes.  A container object (such as a
      :class:`list`) produces a fresh new iterator each time you pass it to the
      :func:`iter` function or use it in a :keyword:`for` loop.  Attempting this
      with an iterator will just return the same exhausted iterator object used
      in the previous iteration pass, making it appear like an empty container.

      More information can be found in :ref:`typeiter`.

   key function
      A key function or collation function is a callable that returns a value
      used for sorting or ordering.  For example, :func:`locale.strxfrm` is
      used to produce a sort key that is aware of locale specific sort
      conventions.

      A number of tools in Python accept key functions to control how elements
      are ordered or grouped.  They include :func:`min`, :func:`max`,
      :func:`sorted`, :meth:`list.sort`, :func:`heapq.nsmallest`,
      :func:`heapq.nlargest`, and :func:`itertools.groupby`.

      There are several ways to create a key function.  For example. the
      :meth:`str.lower` method can serve as a key function for case insensitive
      sorts.  Alternatively, an ad-hoc key function can be built from a
      :keyword:`lambda` expression such as ``lambda r: (r[0], r[2])``.  Also,
      the :mod:`operator` module provides three key function constructors:
      :func:`~operator.attrgetter`, :func:`~operator.itemgetter`, and
      :func:`~operator.methodcaller`.  See the :ref:`Sorting HOW TO
      <sortinghowto>` for examples of how to create and use key functions.

   keyword argument
      See :term:`argument`.

   lambda
      An anonymous inline function consisting of a single :term:`expression`
      which is evaluated when the function is called.  The syntax to create
      a lambda function is ``lambda [parameters]: expression``

   LBYL
      Look before you leap.  This coding style explicitly tests for
      pre-conditions before making calls or lookups.  This style contrasts with
      the :term:`EAFP` approach and is characterized by the presence of many
      :keyword:`if` statements.

      In a multi-threaded environment, the LBYL approach can risk introducing a
      race condition between "the looking" and "the leaping".  For example, the
      code, ``if key in mapping: return mapping[key]`` can fail if another
      thread removes *key* from *mapping* after the test, but before the lookup.
      This issue can be solved with locks or by using the EAFP approach.

   list
      A built-in Python :term:`sequence`.  Despite its name it is more akin
      to an array in other languages than to a linked list since access to
      elements is O(1).

   list comprehension
      A compact way to process all or part of the elements in a sequence and
      return a list with the results.  ``result = ["0x%02x" % x for x in
      range(256) if x % 2 == 0]`` generates a list of strings containing
      even hex numbers (0x..) in the range from 0 to 255. The :keyword:`if`
      clause is optional.  If omitted, all elements in ``range(256)`` are
      processed.

   loader
      An object that loads a module. It must define a method named
      :meth:`load_module`. A loader is typically returned by a
      :term:`finder`. See :pep:`302` for details.

   mapping
      A container object that supports arbitrary key lookups and implements the
      methods specified in the :class:`~collections.Mapping` or
      :class:`~collections.MutableMapping`
      :ref:`abstract base classes <collections-abstract-base-classes>`.  Examples
      include :class:`dict`, :class:`collections.defaultdict`,
      :class:`collections.OrderedDict` and :class:`collections.Counter`.

   metaclass
      The class of a class.  Class definitions create a class name, a class
      dictionary, and a list of base classes.  The metaclass is responsible for
      taking those three arguments and creating the class.  Most object oriented
      programming languages provide a default implementation.  What makes Python
      special is that it is possible to create custom metaclasses.  Most users
      never need this tool, but when the need arises, metaclasses can provide
      powerful, elegant solutions.  They have been used for logging attribute
      access, adding thread-safety, tracking object creation, implementing
      singletons, and many other tasks.

      More information can be found in :ref:`metaclasses`.

   method
      A function which is defined inside a class body.  If called as an attribute
      of an instance of that class, the method will get the instance object as
      its first :term:`argument` (which is usually called ``self``).
      See :term:`function` and :term:`nested scope`.

   method resolution order
      Method Resolution Order is the order in which base classes are searched
      for a member during lookup. See `The Python 2.3 Method Resolution Order
      <https://www.python.org/download/releases/2.3/mro/>`_ for details of the
      algorithm used by the Python interpreter since the 2.3 release.

   module
      An object that serves as an organizational unit of Python code.  Modules
      have a namespace containing arbitrary Python objects.  Modules are loaded
      into Python by the process of :term:`importing`.

      See also :term:`package`.

   MRO
      See :term:`method resolution order`.

   mutable
      Mutable objects can change their value but keep their :func:`id`.  See
      also :term:`immutable`.

   named tuple
      Any tuple-like class whose indexable elements are also accessible using
      named attributes (for example, :func:`time.localtime` returns a
      tuple-like object where the *year* is accessible either with an
      index such as ``t[0]`` or with a named attribute like ``t.tm_year``).

      A named tuple can be a built-in type such as :class:`time.struct_time`,
      or it can be created with a regular class definition.  A full featured
      named tuple can also be created with the factory function
      :func:`collections.namedtuple`.  The latter approach automatically
      provides extra features such as a self-documenting representation like
      ``Employee(name='jones', title='programmer')``.

   namespace
      The place where a variable is stored.  Namespaces are implemented as
      dictionaries.  There are the local, global and built-in namespaces as well
      as nested namespaces in objects (in methods).  Namespaces support
      modularity by preventing naming conflicts.  For instance, the functions
      :func:`__builtin__.open` and :func:`os.open` are distinguished by their
      namespaces.  Namespaces also aid readability and maintainability by making
      it clear which module implements a function.  For instance, writing
      :func:`random.seed` or :func:`itertools.izip` makes it clear that those
      functions are implemented by the :mod:`random` and :mod:`itertools`
      modules, respectively.

   nested scope
      The ability to refer to a variable in an enclosing definition.  For
      instance, a function defined inside another function can refer to
      variables in the outer function.  Note that nested scopes work only for
      reference and not for assignment which will always write to the innermost
      scope.  In contrast, local variables both read and write in the innermost
      scope.  Likewise, global variables read and write to the global namespace.

   new-style class
      Any class which inherits from :class:`object`.  This includes all built-in
      types like :class:`list` and :class:`dict`.  Only new-style classes can
      use Python's newer, versatile features like :attr:`~object.__slots__`,
      descriptors, properties, and :meth:`__getattribute__`.

      More information can be found in :ref:`newstyle`.

   object
      Any data with state (attributes or value) and defined behavior
      (methods).  Also the ultimate base class of any :term:`new-style
      class`.

   package
      A Python :term:`module` which can contain submodules or recursively,
      subpackages.  Technically, a package is a Python module with an
      ``__path__`` attribute.

   parameter
      A named entity in a :term:`function` (or method) definition that
      specifies an :term:`argument` (or in some cases, arguments) that the
      function can accept.  There are four types of parameters:

      * :dfn:`positional-or-keyword`: specifies an argument that can be passed
        either :term:`positionally <argument>` or as a :term:`keyword argument
        <argument>`.  This is the default kind of parameter, for example *foo*
        and *bar* in the following::

           def func(foo, bar=None): ...

      * :dfn:`positional-only`: specifies an argument that can be supplied only
        by position.  Python has no syntax for defining positional-only
        parameters.  However, some built-in functions have positional-only
        parameters (e.g. :func:`abs`).

      * :dfn:`var-positional`: specifies that an arbitrary sequence of
        positional arguments can be provided (in addition to any positional
        arguments already accepted by other parameters).  Such a parameter can
        be defined by prepending the parameter name with ``*``, for example
        *args* in the following::

           def func(*args, **kwargs): ...

      * :dfn:`var-keyword`: specifies that arbitrarily many keyword arguments
        can be provided (in addition to any keyword arguments already accepted
        by other parameters).  Such a parameter can be defined by prepending
        the parameter name with ``**``, for example *kwargs* in the example
        above.

      Parameters can specify both optional and required arguments, as well as
      default values for some optional arguments.

      See also the :term:`argument` glossary entry, the FAQ question on
      :ref:`the difference between arguments and parameters
      <faq-argument-vs-parameter>`, and the :ref:`function` section.

   PEP
      Python Enhancement Proposal. A PEP is a design document
      providing information to the Python community, or describing a new
      feature for Python or its processes or environment. PEPs should
      provide a concise technical specification and a rationale for proposed
      features.

      PEPs are intended to be the primary mechanisms for proposing major new
      features, for collecting community input on an issue, and for documenting
      the design decisions that have gone into Python. The PEP author is
      responsible for building consensus within the community and documenting
      dissenting opinions.

      See :pep:`1`.

   positional argument
      See :term:`argument`.

   Python 3000
      Nickname for the Python 3.x release line (coined long ago when the release
      of version 3 was something in the distant future.)  This is also
      abbreviated "Py3k".

   Pythonic
      An idea or piece of code which closely follows the most common idioms
      of the Python language, rather than implementing code using concepts
      common to other languages.  For example, a common idiom in Python is
      to loop over all elements of an iterable using a :keyword:`for`
      statement.  Many other languages don't have this type of construct, so
      people unfamiliar with Python sometimes use a numerical counter instead::

          for i in range(len(food)):
              print food[i]

      As opposed to the cleaner, Pythonic method::

         for piece in food:
             print piece

   reference count
      The number of references to an object.  When the reference count of an
      object drops to zero, it is deallocated.  Reference counting is
      generally not visible to Python code, but it is a key element of the
      :term:`CPython` implementation.  The :mod:`sys` module defines a
      :func:`~sys.getrefcount` function that programmers can call to return the
      reference count for a particular object.

   __slots__
      A declaration inside a :term:`new-style class` that saves memory by
      pre-declaring space for instance attributes and eliminating instance
      dictionaries.  Though popular, the technique is somewhat tricky to get
      right and is best reserved for rare cases where there are large numbers of
      instances in a memory-critical application.

   sequence
      An :term:`iterable` which supports efficient element access using integer
      indices via the :meth:`__getitem__` special method and defines a
      :meth:`len` method that returns the length of the sequence.
      Some built-in sequence types are :class:`list`, :class:`str`,
      :class:`tuple`, and :class:`unicode`. Note that :class:`dict` also
      supports :meth:`__getitem__` and :meth:`__len__`, but is considered a
      mapping rather than a sequence because the lookups use arbitrary
      :term:`immutable` keys rather than integers.

   slice
      An object usually containing a portion of a :term:`sequence`.  A slice is
      created using the subscript notation, ``[]`` with colons between numbers
      when several are given, such as in ``variable_name[1:3:5]``.  The bracket
      (subscript) notation uses :class:`slice` objects internally (or in older
      versions, :meth:`__getslice__` and :meth:`__setslice__`).

   special method
      A method that is called implicitly by Python to execute a certain
      operation on a type, such as addition.  Such methods have names starting
      and ending with double underscores.  Special methods are documented in
      :ref:`specialnames`.

   statement
      A statement is part of a suite (a "block" of code).  A statement is either
      an :term:`expression` or one of several constructs with a keyword, such
      as :keyword:`if`, :keyword:`while` or :keyword:`for`.

   struct sequence
      A tuple with named elements. Struct sequences expose an interface similiar
      to :term:`named tuple` in that elements can be accessed either by
      index or as an attribute. However, they do not have any of the named tuple
      methods like :meth:`~collections.somenamedtuple._make` or
      :meth:`~collections.somenamedtuple._asdict`. Examples of struct sequences
      include :data:`sys.float_info` and the return value of :func:`os.stat`.

   triple-quoted string
      A string which is bound by three instances of either a quotation mark
      (") or an apostrophe (').  While they don't provide any functionality
      not available with single-quoted strings, they are useful for a number
      of reasons.  They allow you to include unescaped single and double
      quotes within a string and they can span multiple lines without the
      use of the continuation character, making them especially useful when
      writing docstrings.

   type
      The type of a Python object determines what kind of object it is; every
      object has a type.  An object's type is accessible as its
      :attr:`~instance.__class__` attribute or can be retrieved with
      ``type(obj)``.

   universal newlines
      A manner of interpreting text streams in which all of the following are
      recognized as ending a line: the Unix end-of-line convention ``'\n'``,
      the Windows convention ``'\r\n'``, and the old Macintosh convention
      ``'\r'``.  See :pep:`278` and :pep:`3116`, as well as
      :func:`str.splitlines` for an additional use.

   virtual environment
      A cooperatively isolated runtime environment that allows Python users
      and applications to install and upgrade Python distribution packages
      without interfering with the behaviour of other Python applications
      running on the same system.

   virtual machine
      A computer defined entirely in software.  Python's virtual machine
      executes the :term:`bytecode` emitted by the bytecode compiler.

   Zen of Python
      Listing of Python design principles and philosophies that are helpful in
      understanding and using the language.  The listing can be found by typing
      "``import this``" at the interactive prompt.