Optional Function Parameters in Computer Language Docs (the idiocy thereof)

, , …,

there's a common idiocy among tech geekers in documentation. For example, from http://docs.python.org/3.0/library/bisect.html, L@@K:

python 3 bisect doc
Python 3 bisect doc.
bisect.bisect_left(list, item[, lo[, hi]])

this is unreadable and confusing, especially because square brackets are valid syntax in the lang.

the tech geeking idiots write it that way because, writing it that way makes them computer scientists. It came from certain BNF. In particular, pythoners live in a world of “comp sci R us”.

what it means is this, any one of the following:

bisect.bisect_left(list, item)
bisect.bisect_left(list, item , lo)
bisect.bisect_left(list, item , lo, hi)

Here's another example, from PHP Return array entries that match the pattern

php doc preg grep
PHP doc on preg_grep
array preg_grep ( string $pattern , array $input [, int $flags = 0 ] )

which lang doc does it properly? Wolfram Language. (⁖ http://reference.wolfram.com/mathematica/ref/Table.html) , JavaScript doc by Microsoft. 〔➤ Examples of Quality Documentation in Computing Industry

Wolfram Language Table doc
Wolfram Language doc on Table

Addendum. In python doc for version 2.7 and 3.1 and later, they corrected this. Now they write it like this: bisect.bisect_left(a, x, lo=0, hi=len(a)). Thanks to Yuri Khan.