Friday, July 08, 2005

Python

I have been programming since the days of punch cards and have used Fortran, Pascal, C, xBASE, Perl and other forms of nastiness. About five years ago my good friend Paul introduced me to Python. At first I was sceptical. What could this language do that others could not?

Well that was missing the point. Quite simply, Python can do just about everything, and does it simpler and with less grief than any other language I've seen. It does not have bizarre line-noise syntax like Perl, is not crippled and made for only one domain like PHP, does not require micromanagement of memory like C, and takes much less typing to accomplish a goal than Java.

Python is free and works on any platform. Libraries are robust. Goggle, Blogger, and Yahoo are among the "big boys" who use it. The developer community is incredible.

In short, if you are programming, you should be using Python.

Start at the home page and download a version for your system. Go to the DevCentre and the online Cookbook for useful resources.

Two of the best online tutorials are Dive Into Python and How to Think Like a Computer Scientist.

If you prefer printed documentation, there is no better starting point than Learning Python. For helpful recipes and an intellectually charged deep exploration of this language, do buy the Python Cookbook. It is far more extensive and coherent than the online version. And I say that not because I have a few contributions!

Do this and you will thank me as much as I thank Paul.

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2 comments:

neanderpaul said...

It's got to be a lot longer than five years ago, Robin!

I've been revisiting Java lately, thinking perhaps I need to get some Java chops for when my job (working in a proprietary language) finally goes away.

Looking at it again for the first time in a while, I was struck with just how boring it is. Seriously -- no spark. I'd feel dumb writing "getter" and "setter" methods for a living.

Java's idea of "object-oriented programming" is especially restrictive after working with CLOS, as I have for the last while. One looks at Java, and thinks: "well, sure, that's *one* way to do it, I suppose." But why force me to do it that way?

Anyway, blog on, my friend! Glad to see that Python "stuck" for you (I remember it took a while ;) )

-- p

robin said...

"A lot longer than five years ago" is exactly what I did not want to hear!

I with you regarding Java. You need it to get a programming job but it's as ugly as sin. Of course that is why people use Jython. Best of both worlds.

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