[Edu-sig] Python as a first language for computer sciencist

Kirby Urner urnerk at qwest.net
Mon Oct 17 21:16:43 CEST 2005

> Incidentally, I think Python is a marvelous tool throughout the CS
> curriculum. It's a language that gets out of your way so that you can
> concentrate on fundamental concepts. I even use Python in my Op Systems
> class, something I'm frequently told Python isn't good for. Not true.
> Python is (arguably) the simplest vehicle that allows my students to
> program directly with underlying Posix system calls. It's simpler than
> doing systems programming in C or C++. To say nothing of trying to
> access the OS in Java... While I would not try to write an OS in Python,
> it sure is a lot easier for teaching _about_ them. That is, I am using
> the programming as a learning tool, not trying to teach them how to
> program an OS.
> --John

I echo John's sentiments.  

There's something very satisfying about being able to use Python bindings to
the SDL library (C++) to make a CD tray pop open, or make your animation go
full screen vs. in a window.  You can do these things with PyGame.[1]

Using win32all, you can get into the guts of Windows more specifically,
calling up Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC) and defining COM objects.
These powers will only increase, plus become more standardized across
platforms, with the spread of .NET/Mono (this is a Linux-friendly
technology, is not just about Windows or Microsoft).[2]

Python lets you define a web server with just a few lines of code, as the
Standard Library includes one -- it'll even run your cgi scripts for ya.[3]
This is a wonderful resource for future web programmers, as they pursue a
gentle intro to server side programming.  Why start by tackling Apache's
httpd daemon head on, complete with mod-rewrite?

South America has already made significant contributions to Python world.
Facundo Batista of Argentina is one of the brains behind the new decimal
type [4] and Brazil is known for providing a lot of Plone and Zope

Lima could be a new Python capital (like Prague is for FoxPro people -- or
so they tell me).[6]


[1] http://www.pygame.org/docs/ref/cdrom.html#CD.eject

[2] http://mail.python.org/pipermail/edu-sig/2005-October/005374.html (Chuck
re wide adoption of .NET and/or Mono)

[3] http://www.4dsolutions.net/ocn/geoquiz.html (mentions CGIHTTPServer)

(picture of Facundo)

[5] http://www.tchezope.org/

[6] http://mybizmo.blogspot.com/2005/03/pycon-2005.html (re FoxPro)

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