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Re: "static" declaration

   variables in Python classes.  Conversely, what about Perl makes the
   lack of declarations a nuisance?
I'd say it's lack of declarations + implicit declarations + dynamic
types that don't contribute to readability, and contribute to obscure
bugs -- not that smart-hacker Perl can ever be readable, but that's
another story :) 

Some claim that C/C++ had the same problem (witness Simonyi and
Hungarian names) but the fact that we have to come up w/ conventions
to work around such issues says something important.
Jeremy -- you are talking about "knowing all instance variables", but
I think others are talking about "readability" with a view toward
understanding what a piece of code does (potentially in order to find
what's broken in it, or extending it). Different sets of issues.