[CentralOH] Why Python?

davelist at mac.com davelist at mac.com
Mon Oct 13 14:39:39 CEST 2014

On Oct 11, 2014, at 10:05 AM, Eric Floehr <eric at intellovations.com> wrote:

> At the last meeting Pete Carswell asked me for help in supporting his goal of wanting Python as the introductory language taught at CSCC, and specifically to contrast it against Ruby, which is being pushed there. I thought that I would share my response with everyone.
> This is not meant as a negative for any other language (like Ruby, or even Perl). Every person has their own reasons for selecting a particular technology and I applaud that. I've written programs for money in Perl, Ruby, PHP, Microsoft C++, etc. These are simply data points to support why Python is a good choice for an introductory programming course.
> ACM: Python is now the most popular introductory teaching language at top U.S. universities
> http://cacm.acm.org/blogs/blog-cacm/176450-python-is-now-the-most-popular-introductory-teaching-language-at-top-us-universities/fulltext
> Why I push for Python
> http://lorenabarba.com/blog/why-i-push-for-python/
> Python is asked for by more employers
> http://www.indeed.com/jobanalytics/jobtrends?q=python%2Cruby&l=
> Python is asked for by more startups
> (today: 1854 jobs ask for Python, 915 Ruby, 1232 javascript, 2002 java)
> http://www.startuphire.com/
> TIOBE Index
> http://www.tiobe.com/index.php/cont

> ent/paperinfo/tpci/index.html
> Five programming languages marked for death (dice.com)
> http://news.dice.com/2014/10/09/5-programming-languages-marked-for-death
> (definitely just one man's opinion, but those language are Perl, Ruby, VisualBasic.NET, Adobe Flash and Air, Delphi's Object Pascal)

From a pedagogical standpoint, I like the fact that Python’s syntax is simpler/cleaner than Ruby's (disclaimer: I’m not very fluent in Ruby, but it appears to me Ruby is both more terse and uses more special symbols making it a little more challenging for beginners). Python allows us to spend more time on problem solving and less time on syntax issues.

John Zelle’s site has some more links (although less current as he started using Python over a decade ago). Disclaimer I use John’s book in my CS1 course at Capital University and co-authored a Python/C++ book with John that we use in our CS2 course.


Dave Reed

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