Friday, May 13, 2022

Python 🐍 fun with emojis

At EuroSciPy in 2018, Marc Garcia gave a lightning talk which started by pointing out that scientific Python programmers like to alias everything, such as

import numpy as np
import pandas as pd

and suggested that they perhaps would prefer to use emojis, such as

import pandas as 🐼

However, Python does not support emojis as code, so the above line cannot be used.

A year prior, Thomas A Caswell had created a pull request for CPython that would have made this possible. This code would have allowed the use of emojis in all environments, including in a Python REPL and even in Jupyter notebooks. Unsurprisingly, this was rejected.

Undeterred, Geir Arne Hjelle created a project called pythonji (available on Pypi) which enabled the use of emojis in Python code, but in a much more restricted way. With pythonji, one can run modules ending with πŸ instead of .py from a terminal. However, such modules cannot be imported, nor can emojis be used in a terminal.

When I learned about this attempt by Geir Arne Hjelle from a tweet by Mike Driscoll, I thought it would be a fun little project to implement with ideas.  Below, I use the same basic example included in the original pythonji project.

As you can see, it works in ideas' console, when importing module. It can also work when running the 🐍 file as source - but leaving the extension out.

And, it works in Jupyter notebooks too!

All of this without any need to modify CPython's source code!


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