[Chicago] Pizza providers update

Kenneth P. Stox ken at stox.org
Tue Aug 21 06:21:39 CEST 2007

On Mon, 2007-08-20 at 14:07 -0500, Kumar McMillan wrote:
> We have tried twice to work with a developer who had no Python
> experience, having him learn Python while implementing the project.

This is where you failed. It is unreasonable to expect a novice to the
language to implement a successful project on the first go round. With
rare exception, it might work out, but otherwise it is an invitation for

A successful strategy would involve having the novice programmer act in
role of an apprentice to a more senior developer. 

> It failed both times because we didn't have enough time to mentor the
> developers.  We had to scrap the code.  This might not always be the
> case, even with more or less time to mentor, but such a strategy is
> very risky ;)  If we were a bigger company we could probably do it
> better.  When I contracted briefly with IBM I noticed that they do
> this - they hire people who have limited [or even no] Java knowledge
> and they train them on the WebSphere product.

Your expectations were too high. If you had adapted a strategy where the
new developer was an apprentice to a senior developer, you would have
ended up with a productivity of ( picking some numbers ) 1.2 developers
on the first pass. 1.5 on the second, 1.8 on the third, 2 on the fourth.
Good developers are not made overnight, they need to age like a cheap
wine. ;->

> As with any language that wants to grow, Python needs more
> "switchers."  Perhaps more people should write those silly articles on
> "Moving from PHP to Python", or whatever ... or even going to other
> local user groups and presenting some kind of intro to python.  I see
> a lot of Java developers in Chicago switching to Ruby - perhaps it is
> the influence of Thoughtworks or 37 Signals, I don't know.

Well, I think it is more than that. Ruby developers are producing more
fun exciting sites. What's the last python site you saw that really
caught your eyes? We're not going to get the "switchers" until we find
something compelling to sell them on it. If we do, the line will be out
the door. 

To be blunt, we have become complacent and arrogant. This does not bode
well for the future of Python. We have lost the excitement that the
language garnered years ago. This is sad, as it is an incredibly clean
and extensible language.

That being said, I do sense a certain excitement with the approaching
PyCon 2008. We need to find a way to better leverage this excitement to
the benefit of the community. 


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