newbie question

George Garnett g.r.garnett at
Thu Aug 23 01:25:25 CEST 2001

I'm not a python programmer, but I have evaluated the language relative to
java (yes, I'm a java programmer, and you can assume my opinion on python is
suspect). No doubt I'm about to be beat up by all your phyton programmers
for this, but I'm a glutton for punishment. Please, no four letter words or
verbal attacks about my mother.  Here goes:

There is a pile of existing (legacy) visual basic programs out there that
need to be enhanced and debugged even if Microsoft VB is rapidly moving
towards Microsoft's  '.net' (dot NET) technology to replace it. There are
even new projects using VB since the replacement for it will take some time
to develop and saturate the market. There should therefore be enough time in
the transition to find enough work in VB until Microsoft replaces their VB
with '.net'  (dot net) technology. Rumor has it that it will be somewhat
similar look and feel development environment to VB, but unlike VB, its for
creating web based applications, and not stand alone applications as is VB.
Its in beta test now and will not be a viable (mature bug free) product for
another 2 years or so. The competitor to .net is java and JSP. For immediate
work, I suggest you create a small project (or two, or three) using VB to
show the companies that you stand out in the crowd in that you can implement
the language and not just read books on it and worked out a few examples.
Don't worry about the market too much. Within a year or so companies will be
begging for programmers again. You should prepare for that while you have
some free time between jobs by studying. Still worried? Read 'How to stop
worrying and start living' by Dale Carnegie.

Python has been re-written into jpython in which the language closely
parallels the java language. The main difference is java enforces strong
type casting (which is good), where jpython does not (its a gimmick to not
scare off non professional programmers who don't want to take the time to
verify every line of code is type casted correctly (this is the part where
I'll get beat up on) ). JPython is billed as a browser side scripting
language that complements java. This I believe is true. However, java's JSP
technology came out and I believe jpython's days are numbered (then again,
considering how quickly technology changes, everything's day's are
numbered!). JPython is Python's attempt to hold onto all its python
developers and will provide them with a transition path to java (this is the
part where I'll get beat up on too) as an alternative to JSP and javascript.
If you don't already know python, I suggest you jump directly into
Microsoft's '.net' technology, or java/JSP and skip jpython. The market will
be split between these two powerhouses for the next 5 years or so. Either
way, an immediate job isn't likely in these until you come up to speed
(about a year or two), or until the economy picks up (in about 12 months).

Both java/JSP and python require knowledge of
html/javascript/java/jsp/xml/web design. Unlike VB, its not one development
platform but a combination of technologies. The promise of .net is to be one
development platform. The downside is proprietary design and not open
source. Companies want to keep away from being under the thumb of one vendor
(such as microsoft). By the way, JSP may develop a good JSP tag library
where some vendor in the future will develop a single development platform
and beat microsoft at its own game. Either way (microsoft or java), you'll
have a lot of reading to do.

If you want to go the java route, here are few books I'll recommend (see for 40% off). I suggest you order one at a time to see if
its to your liking. And/or go to the bookstore and browse through them. Note
java is an object oriented concept and that too will take some time to
appreciate. Good Luck!
Core Java Volume 1-fundamentals

Core Java Volume 2-Advanced features

Thinking in Java     eckel

JavaScript the Definitive Guide

HTML & XHTML the Definitive Guide

Java Servlet Programming     o'reilly

Core JSP              hougland/tavistock

Advanced Java Server Pages      geary

Database Programming with JDBC    o'reilly

"atonal" <watchtheclosingdoors at> wrote in message
news:48256545.0108221258.5882c94f at
> i have beginning-to-intermediate level vb6/vba programming skills and
> would like to find employment before long in a technical capacity.
> something tells me that vb is not my ticket, and i am intrigued by
> python.
> for now i am somewhat wedded to ms windows and ms office, but i gather
> that python can be used in many ways in place of vba, and that in
> general it would offer more career opportunities.
> anyone agree or disagree?  advice is welcome, and thanks in advance.

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