Python Popularity: Questions and Comments

Dudley Carr dcarr1 at hotmail.com
Thu Dec 27 13:21:57 CET 2001


First and foremost, the rate at which a language is growing,
especially in terms of industry acceptance, is always difficult to
tell since rarely is a survey done to find out how many people are
using a particular language across all industries.

Personally, I use the following metric to see how a language is
progressing:

1. Look at the number of Oreilly books (possibly books by other
publishers) that have been or are going to be released in relation to
the language.

2. Number of articles on programming websites using / explaining the
language.

2. Look the support for new technologies in the language and its
libraries.

3. Activity in the newsgroup is also very indicative esp. with the
number of newbie questions flowing-in (mention in an earlier post).

With that said, super-spectacular growth is not always the greatest
thing. If we learned anything from the dot-com bust is that growing
too fast has its consequences. Python, I believe, prides itself on its
evolutionary rather than revolutionary approach to getting things
done; and that's exactly how it ought to be (my Darwinian opinion of
course).

Another issue to address is this business of corporations adopting
Python and/or producing Python products. Aside from ActiveState's
Visual Python, Zope, Blender, and a handful of other products, people
generally have a tough time regurgitating the list of Python products.
This is probably due to the fact that Python manages to do so much out
of the box, and if it doesn't its not that difficult to get Python to
do what you want it to do. Regardless of all of this, it actually
doesn't matter that a new Python product isn't introduced on a daily
basis. Take C-shell or the Bash shell for example, how many companies
are producing products with those languages featuring on the front of
the box? Does that mean that C-shell and Bash are not widely used?

So where does Python stand in relation to Perl, PHP, Ruby or
Javascript in terms of popularity? Who cares?! Python, although not
the fastest beast on the block, scratches the itch that none of the
other scripting languages seem to be able to do. Oh yeah, and Python
is also fun.



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