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Title: tkinter documentation suggests "from tkinter import *", contradicting PEP8
Type: Stage: resolved
Components: Documentation Versions:
Status: closed Resolution: not a bug
Dependencies: Superseder:
Assigned To: docs@python Nosy List: ChrisRands, busfault, docs@python, ned.deily, serhiy.storchaka
Priority: normal Keywords:

Created on 2018-02-12 12:51 by ChrisRands, last changed 2022-04-11 14:58 by admin. This issue is now closed.

Messages (7)
msg312045 - (view) Author: (ChrisRands) * Date: 2018-02-12 12:51
Issue arose from this SO post:

The tkinter documentation suggests:

from tkinter import *

But this obviously contradicts PEP8:
"Wildcard imports (from <module> import *) should be avoided"

Is tkinter a valid exception or is this a documentation bug?

The commit of this line to the documentation is >10 years old (at least Python 2.4 I think):
msg312047 - (view) Author: Serhiy Storchaka (serhiy.storchaka) * (Python committer) Date: 2018-02-12 13:09
I think tkinter is a valid exception. It provides the enormous number of names (mostly constants like RIGHT or VERTICAL) which are convenient to use without prefix.

PEP 8 is a style guide for the code of the stdlib. Its suggestions are not mandatory for a user code.
msg312048 - (view) Author: (ChrisRands) * Date: 2018-02-12 13:22
Thanks Serhiy, you might be right (I am not a tkinter user myself).

I also forgot to say that in PEP 328 tkinter is mentioned in this context:
msg312049 - (view) Author: Ned Deily (ned.deily) * (Python committer) Date: 2018-02-12 13:31
PEP 8 also says: "In particular: do not break backwards compatibility just to comply with this PEP!"  This is one of those cases.  There is a ton of code out there that depends on importing tkinter this way for the reasons Serhiy cited.  Thanks for the suggestion but this usage is not going to change.
msg312051 - (view) Author: (ChrisRands) * Date: 2018-02-12 13:39
Ok thanks both for the clarification!
msg312054 - (view) Author: Serhiy Storchaka (serhiy.storchaka) * (Python committer) Date: 2018-02-12 13:52
I want to add that the star import is more convenient when you experiment with Tkinter in REPL. You don't know what names will be needed when import Tkinter.

The interpreter core has a special support of Tkinter. You don't need to run mainloop() for updating GUI in REPL. So this is a supported case.
msg382278 - (view) Author: Tom Middleton (busfault) Date: 2020-12-01 20:59
While I agree that it shouldn't be imposed on changing previous code, changing the documentation isn't changing the previous code it is encouraging future code. I think that the documentation should have a caveat. I'm seeing a lot of new code using tkinter with glob import which is obviously from the documentation as it suggests doing so. I think that the glob import practice should be overall discouraged. I think adding a disclaimer in the documentation at the reference to `from tkinter import *` would be sufficient. A reference to PEP8 would be good. I'd imagine that most people look up docs and are not as familiar with PEP.
Why can't something like that be added to the documentation?
Date User Action Args
2022-04-11 14:58:57adminsetgithub: 77011
2020-12-01 20:59:25busfaultsetnosy: + busfault
messages: + msg382278
2018-02-12 13:52:55serhiy.storchakasetmessages: + msg312054
2018-02-12 13:39:55ChrisRandssetmessages: + msg312051
2018-02-12 13:31:39ned.deilysetstatus: open -> closed

nosy: + ned.deily
messages: + msg312049

resolution: not a bug
stage: resolved
2018-02-12 13:22:58ChrisRandssetmessages: + msg312048
2018-02-12 13:09:32serhiy.storchakasetnosy: + serhiy.storchaka
messages: + msg312047
2018-02-12 12:51:45ChrisRandscreate