jython-docs/devguide / langchanges.rst

Changing the Python Language

On occasion people come up with an idea on how to change or improve Python as a programming language. This document is meant to explain exactly what changes have a reasonable chance of being considered and what the process is to propose changes to the language.

What Qualifies

First and foremost, it must be understood that changes to the Python programming language are difficult to make. When the language changes, every Python programmer already in existence and all Python programmers to come will end up eventually learning about the change you want to propose. Books will need updating, code will be changed, and a new way to do things will need to be learned. Changes to the Python programming language are never taken lightly.

Because of the seriousness that language changes carry, any change must be beneficial to a large proportion of Python users. If the change only benefits a small percentage of Python developers then the change will not be made. A good way to see if your idea would work for a large portion of the Python community is to ask on :ref:`python-list or python-ideas <communication>`. You can also go through Python's stdlib and find examples of code which would benefit from your proposed change (which helps communicate the usefulness of your change to others).

Your proposed change also needs to be Pythonic. While Guido is the only person who can truly classify something as Pythonic, you can read the Zen of Python for guidance.


Once you are certain you have a language change proposal which will appeal to the general Python community, you can being the process of officially proposing the change.

You will first need a PEP that you will present to python-ideas. You may be a little hazy on the technical details as various core developers can help with that, but do realize that if you do not present your idea to python-ideas or python-list ahead of time you may find out it is technically not possible (e.g., Python's parser will not support the grammar change as it is an LL(1) parser). Expect extensive comments on the PEP, some of which will be negative.

Once your PEP has been modified to be of proper quality and to take into account comments made on python-ideas, it may proceed to python-dev. There it will be assigned a PEP dictator and another general discussion will occur. Once again, you will need to modify your PEP to incorporate the large amount of comments you will receive.

The PEP dictator decides if your PEP is accepted (typically based on whether most core developers support the PEP). If that occurs then your proposed language change will be introduced in the next release of Python. Otherwise your PEP will be recorded as rejected along with an explanation as to why so that others do not propose the same language change in the future.