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

Rodrigo Senra rsenra at acm.org
Wed Oct 19 23:00:34 CEST 2005

[ Mark Engelberg ]:
> P.S.  For what it's worth, Python is the language I choose to use on a
> daily basis, because I mainly write short programs to analyze various
> puzzles I'm working on.  It's a great tool for fast and practical
> programming.


> But I think it would be very hard to write a bug-free
> large-scale project in Python.

I beg to differ. I have been doing that for the last 5 years in Python.
But our definitions of "large-scale" might be different ;o)
Moreover, any large-scale project becomes "less large" (in KLOC)
when ported to Python.
Last but not least, I' ve **never** seen a bug-free large-scale project
in any language.

> (Granted, it's hard to write a bug-free large-scale project in any  
> language,

I truly believe that is an understatement.

> but Python lacks the facilities for verifying even the rudiments of  
> correctness without extensive run-time testing).

Wouldn' t you agree that even statically-compiled languages also need
extensive run-time testing in order to verify its correctness ?

>   I'm undecided about how useful Python would be as an educational  
> tool.

I, amongst others,  have given a speech in the last Europython  
(Sweden 2005)
about that. IMHO, Python allows the students to feel successful  
during the
learning process. They can concentrate on problems, algorithms and  
logic, instead of struggling with a tool most of the time.

Python (==any language) should never be the only educational tool.
Nevertheless, Python is definetely useful in any context I can think of.

best regards,

Rodrigo Senra
rsenra @ acm.org

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