What's new in Python 3
Wherever changes occur, it is also necessary to ditch some ballast. This affects libraries that have been removed, that have been repackaged, or that coexist in C and Python implementations. The popular Python idiom (Listing 4) of importing the fast C implementation of a module first and then falling back on the Python implementation if this fails is no longer necessary. Python does this automatically. More details are available on changes to the standard library .
01 try: 02 import cPickle as pickle 03 except ImportError: 04 import pickle
All exceptions must derive from BaseException. This implies, in particular, that string exceptions are no longer supported. The exception object now has a new __traceback__ attribute, which contains the traceback of the exception. The approach to both calling and fielding exceptions with arguments has changed. Programmers can now throw exceptions with arguments using raise BaseException(args) and field them with except BaseException as variable (Figure 3).
Python 3 also includes other changes to make life easier for programmers. For example, in cooperative super calls, it is no longer necessary to name the class instance and the class name. Old-style classes, which were deprecated at some previous time, no longer exist in Python 3.0; this removes the need to derive from object to use Python's newer features.
Direct evaluation of input via the input() command is no longer supported, as the input is available as an input string. This approach closes a critical security hole (Figure 4). It was only logical to rename the raw_input() function input() and to remove raw_input.
Of course, any description of the new features can't hope to be exclusive. If you want to know more, check out the reference document by von Rossum, "What's New In Python 3.0" .
Porting to Python 3.0
A clear migration path is available for porting Python 2 code to Python 3 (Figure 5), but you will need to test the code and fix any bugs at each step of the way.
The four lines of code in Listing 5 will serve as an example for migrating Python 2 to Python 3.0. All four lines defined functional components of Python. The first function calculates the sum of three numbers, 2, 3, and 4, by applying these arguments to the Lambda function. The reduce built-in successively reduces the list of all numbers from 1 to 10 by multiplying the results of the last multiplication with the next number in the sequence. The last two functions filter words, starting with filtering uppercase letters out of a string.
Code for Port
01 print "sum of the integers: " , apply(lambda a,b,c: a+b+c , (2,3,4)) 02 print "factorial of 10 :", reduce(lambda x,y: x*y, range(1,11) ) 03 print "titles in text: ", filter( lambda word: word.istitle(),"This is a long Test".split()) 04 print "titles in text: ", [ word for word in "This is a long Test".split() if word.istitle()]
The code works on Python 2.6, and you only need to perform Steps 3 and 4 for the port. The source code for this example is stored in a file called port.py.
Calling the Python 2.6 interpreter with the -3 option (Figure 6) shows incompatibilities with version 3: Both the apply function and the reduce function are no longer built-ins in Python 3.0. The code is easily fixed (Listing 6), and the deprecation warnings then stop.
Removing the Deprecation Warning
01 print "sum of the integers: " , (lambda a,b,c: a+b+c)(*(2,3,4)) 02 import functools 03 print "factorial of 10 :", functools.reduce(lambda x,y: x*y, range(1,11) ) 04 print "titles in text: ", filter( lambda word: word.istitle(),"This is a long Test".split()) 05 print "titles in text: ", [ word for word in "This is a long Test".split() if word.istitle()]
The code generator 2to3 is really useful if you need to correct your Python 2 code; the generator's final step is to automatically generate code for versions 3.0 and 3.1. The tool offers several options for this (Figure 7). The direct approach is to overwrite the original file: 2to3 port.py -w. The result is the ported source code for Python 3.0 (Listing 7).
Code Ported to Python 3.0
01 print("sum of the integers: " , (lambda a,b,c: a+b+c)(*(2,3,4))) 02 print("factorial of 10 :", reduce(lambda x,y: x*y, list(range(1,11)) )) 03 print("titles in text: ", [word for word in "This is a long Test".split() if word.istitle()]) 04 print("titles in text: ", [ word for word in "This is a long Test".split() if word.istitle()])
When to Make the Move
Python 3.0 originally placed more emphasis on functionality, and this meant that it was about 10 percent slower than Python 2. The required optimization occurred in Python 3.1 . This optimization relates to special handling of small integers. On top of this, Python 3.1's I/O library is implemented in C, which makes it between 2 and 20 times faster. Decoding of the UTF-8, UTF-16, and Latin-1 character sets is now twice to four times as fast.
If you are still waiting for third-party libraries to be ported, there is no point porting your application code to Python 3. von Rossum also recommends  not writing any code that will run on both Python 2.6 and Python 3 without modifications. It is preferable to maintain the source code as Python 2.6 code and then use automated tools to port to Python 3.0 or 3.1. Christopher Neugebauer has the final word in his video talk on Python 3000: "Learn 2.6, but keep 3k in mind."
- Peters, Tim. The Zen of Python: http://www.python.org/dev/peps/pep-0020
- contextlib library: http://docs.python.org/3.0/library/contextlib.html#module-contextlib
- PEP 0343: http://www.python.org/dev/peps/pep-0343
- numbers library: http://docs.python.org//3.0/library/numbers.html#module-numbers
- collections library: http://docs.python.org/3.0/library/collections.html#module-collection
- multiprocessing module: http://docs.python.org/3.0/library/multiprocessing.html#module-multiprocessing
- GIL: http://docs.python.org/c-api/init.html#thread-state-and-the-global-interpreter-lock
- Class decorators: http://www.python.org/dev/peps/pep-3129
- io library: http://docs.python.org/3.0/library/io.html#module-io
- Format string method: http://docs.python.org/3.0/whatsnew/2.6.html#pep-3101
- Changes to libraries: http://docs.python.org/3.0/whatsnew/3.0.html#library-changes
- What's New in v.3.0: http://docs.python.org/3.0/whatsnew/3.0.html
- Optimizations in v.3.1: http://docs.python.org/dev/py3k/whatsnew/3.1.html#optimizations
- Porting to v.3.0: http://docs.python.org/3.0/whatsnew/3.0.html#miscellaneous-other-changes
Buy this article as PDF
New release marks the arrival of AMD’s unified driver strategy.
A new study by IDC charts big changes in the big hardware market.
Azure CTO says Redmond has already considered the unthinkable.
Lead developer quells rumors that the Debian version is slated for center stage.
MSBuild is now just another GitHub project as Redmond continues its path to the light.
New rules emphasize collegiality in coding.
Upstart lands in the dust bin as a new era begins for Linux.
HP's annual Cyber Risk report offers a bleak look at the state of IT.
But what do the big numbers really mean?