[meta-sig] So What is Python Anyway?
Sat, 4 Dec 1999 23:33:37 -0500 (EST)
>All these radical suggestions for the transmogrification of Python 2
>leads me to the overwhelming question. What is Python? What makes us
>use this language? What are the particular use-cases that we think
>impede our use of this language? I think that maybe a comprehensive and
>convincing description of the problem that the types-sig is trying to
>solve is essential before we go down the road of more proposals to
>cripple Python's dynamicism and all that.
Several proposed questions, so I'll take a shot at each of them one at a
time. Guido may be a better person to ask, but at least I can share my own
>What is Python?
A programming languge. Duh. Prehaps a religion (cult?), also, depending
upon how you program and how much you use it.
>What makes us use this language?
This is probably the hardest to explain. I started using Python because I
was both looking for somthing that wasn't so mainstream (like Pearl),
offered decent Mac support, was very object-oriented (about as much as
Smalltalk, but with a more real world implimentation), had easy syntax
(compared to other languages I was considering trying (like Pearl, Common
Lisp, Smalltalk, Objective-C)) and good documentation (Programming Python
from ora), and was free. Once I started using Python, it was only then
that I realized the true power that it has and realized that I had made an
excellent choice. This power (the dynamicism, typlessness, modularity,
etc.) is what has kept me using Python and from using other languages only
when absolutely necessary.
>What are the particular use-cases that we think impede our use of this
Python, I have found, can tackle most problems with ease. When it comes to
integration with the native system, though, Python falls far short. On
Unicies there isn't really that much of a problem, but on my Mac and the
Windoze machines I use at school, getting Python to blend in in tough. In
particular are UI and interapplication communications issues. I have few
troubles with the language itself, but more with the particularities of the
OS that it is running on. Each platform is radically better of in it was a
year ago as far as Python integration goes, but there is still a long road
ahead (at least on the Mac).
Basically, creating user friendly environments tends to pose problems, but
otherwise the language is great.
There's probably lots that I haven't touched on here, but hopefully this
will be a starting point for further discussion.
- Gordon Worley