[python-advocacy] How programming language webpages should be designed

David Goodger dgoodger at gmail.com
Sun Nov 8 21:04:47 CET 2009

2009/11/8 Carl Karsten <carl at personnelware.com>:
> On Sun, Nov 8, 2009 at 12:30 PM, David Goodger <goodger at python.org> wrote:
>> On Sun, Nov 8, 2009 at 18:56, Carl Karsten <carl at personnelware.com> wrote:
>>>> if one promotes Python, should programs use Python 3
>>>> syntax and features when many people will still be encountering Python 2
>>>> programs? It doesn't help that right at the very start of a beginner's
>>>> experience with Python, there's a divergence between the dialects involving
>>>> the print statement.
>>> If the goal of what this list and thread is about is to promote python
>>> (which i am sure it is) then the site should use the new and improved
>>> Python 3.
>> I disagree with you there.
> Do you disagree with the goal?

No, of course not. I disagree with the assertion that we should be
using Python 3 syntax. I think we should primarily show Python 2
syntax, with Python 3 as an alternative.

>> We're still positioning Python 2.6 as the
>> recommended version for most people, right?
> Who is we?

The Python community in general, the Python developers, and the people
who maintain the website (the pydotorg group).

> I might be able to figure out what I recommend, but it
> would be way too small a group, and probably not representative of the
> group we are advocating to.

Carl, please don't be obtuse.

> Recommended for what?

Python 2 is still recommended for most new users. Perhaps the clearest
indication of this is on <http://python.org/download/>, where it
states "If you don't know which version to use, start with Python
2.6.4; more existing third party software is compatible with Python 2
than Python 3 right now."

We clearly need a better indication of who should be using which version.

>> Python 3.1 is the
>> cutting-edge version for those who know what they're doing. I think
>> it's a great idea to put some code on the front page, with a link to
>> further examples. Part of that should be a clear (but brief)
>> explanation of the differences between 2.x and 3.x, specifically their
>> audiences: who they're aimed at. Such a clear explanation is currently
>> missing. A "Which Python?" link or sidebar should be prominent.
> I thought we wanted code on the front page, not a choice of links to code.
> "which version" also sounds like a good thing, but for other reasons
> than the goal of promoting.

I agree that some code on the front page is a good idea. I just don't
think it should be Python 3, or not only Python 3.

>> As long as 2.x is listed first on the left-hand side under downloads,
>> we should use 2.x syntax for intros, with links (or sidebars,
>> whatever) to 3.x equivalents.
> Why is 2 above 3?  Seems to me 3 should be on top.

This has been discussed many times on other lists, such as on
python-dev, perhaps on pydotorg. The consensus is that Python 2.6 is
the currently recommended stable production version.

Somebody please correct me if I'm mistaken. (And please point me to
the new decision.)

>> When 2.x becomes legacy, then switch
>> everything to 3.x.
> Depends on what you mean by legacy.  (i bet you love this :)

No I don't. You do seem to love picking fights though, and wasting
people's time.

> There may be more to the requirement than just "2 is legacy" -
> "popular" maybe, but I don't think so.  I can't think of anything that
> makes me say 'stick with 2' so for now I'll focus on what you said,
> which i think is correct.
> If 2.x isn't legacy now, it wont be for years, like 10.  what event
> will happen that hasn't happened yet that defines legacy?
> I think now that 3 is out, stable, in production and depended on (yay
> Blender!)  that kinda makes 2 legacy.  The reason 2 is used at all is
> because of existing code bases.  Pretty sure that's the essence of
> legacy.

My understanding is that Python 2 is still the recommended version
because so many 3rd-party libraries and frameworks still depend on it.
I don't know exactly when Python 3 will become the recommended version
for most new users. I don't decide that.

Some day, the community in general will come to a consensus (prompted
by Guido or someone else, or spontaneously, who knows) that Python 3
is now the version to recommend to most new users. To my knowledge,
that hasn't happened yet.

David Goodger <http://python.net/~goodger>

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