Looking for Python programmers--where to search?

Alex Martelli aleaxit at yahoo.com
Sat Sep 2 16:20:09 CEST 2000

"Ian Hobson" <ian.hobson at ntlworld.com> wrote in message
news:U8bdsAANkDs5EwNJ at ntlworld.com...
> Pascal was designed for just this purpose, and then some bright spark
> wrote a compiler for it!

I think the same guy (Niklaus Wirth) designed the language AND
wrote its first compiler.  In practice, it wasn't all that accessible
to the masses until Borland came up with Turbo Pascal 1.0 much
later, of course, but still, despite the high cost of previous Pascal
environments (relative to Basic or Forth ones), it was there.

> Pascal will quickly get out of the way, and it is impossible to do
> naughty things with pointers without significant knowledge.

I've used Pascal to teach programming, and I think its syntax is
too intrusive.  The BEGIN/END block delimiters, in particular,
focus beginners' attention too intensely on a minor and really
uninteresting detail of language syntax.  Most other defects are
really in the standard/classic Pascal language (no libraries,
need to lay programs out bottom-first, etc) and are probably
bypassed by using typical dialects (pity one must use a dialect
for teaching, but, oh well).

> Python or Pascal would be my choice.

If one thinks that rigid compile-time static typing enhances
a beginner's learning experience, then Pascal (or its successors,
such as Modula-2, Modula-3, Oberon; or philosophical kin,
such as Eiffel or Sather) may be a good choice (if one is not
ready to go full hog for a similarly static-typed functional
language, such as some ML dialect, or Haskell, I guess).


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