[python-advocacy] easy as py

Mike Pittaro mikeyp at snaplogic.org
Fri Jul 20 19:39:43 CEST 2007

Carl Karsten wrote:
> story time:  db developer friend asked me what I was doing, told him "Python, it 
> is great.  Here are some url's of what I am doing: this, that and 
> http://code.djangoproject.com/wiki/CalendarRunThough "  he replied 'Interesting. 
>   Wish I had more time to explore further.  Feel free to keep me posted with 
> what you're doing... "
> deep thought time: "Wish I had more time to explore further."  =  "I don't think 
> I have enough time to actually get something useful out of it"  or some sort of 
> perceived Return On Investment (RoI).   I am pretty sure I had that feeling too, 
> and now have a feeling I was very wrong.
> One thing that I think would help people 'ease into Python' is the fact that 
> python without the batteries (modules) is only like 25 commands and functions. 
> and 1/2 of those aren't even needed 'at first.'  I'm guessing you can hit the 
> RoI level most people want by looking over about 10 python keywords and some 
> list/dict notation.  you don't even need to execute it, just see it, read it, 
> understand it.
> I am thinking we need about 10 - 20 little snippits like this:
>  >>> for x in [1,7,'abc',4]: print x,
> 1 7 abc 4
> The above has some important features I find subtle, like the fact that to 
> traverse a list, you don't need to A) determine the length, B) use that length 
> as the upper limit of a for loop, C) use the loop counter as an index into the 
> list.  granted other languages have FOR EACH which is similar, python seems to 
> ... um... use lists more intelligently?   (hmm... I have a concept in my head, 
> but I am having trouble putting it to words.  may not be important, cuz readers 
> of this list probably know what I am talking about.)  Python makes very 
> efficient use of a small command set.
> So I would like to collect a "one page" set of snippits.  guessing a wiki page 
> would be good for this.

Along these lines, I dealt with a similar problem in the past, converting people to different 'dialects' of SQL.
The method that seemed to be most successful was a side by side 'cheat sheet' mapping of commands in the different dialects.  

If we collected a set of snippets, demonstrating simple and common operations in a few languages along side of  Python snippets, it might help people that already know another language.

Of course, we have to make those examples realistic, and not create (too much of) a debate over which language implements the idiom better :-)

> Would this be appropriate place/name?
> http://wiki.python.org/moin/EasyAsPy
> Carl K

mikeyp at snaplogic.org                                                    http://www.snaplogic.org

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