What to do after Python?

Alex Martelli aleaxit at yahoo.com
Sun Feb 18 19:47:22 CET 2001

"Jim Eaton" <eatonalive%qwestinternet.net at pop3.qwestinternet.net> wrote in
message news:3A9008A1.6E7DD27F at pop3.qwestinternet.net...
> Thank you very much for your advice.  I was also wondering if learning
> sometime later would be needed.  I've heard people talk of Python as the
> natural successor to Perl and I'd like to know what people feel about

IMHO, you'll need to learn Perl if, and only if, you want to go work for
some place that requires it, and/or (roughly equivalent) you need to
maintain or translate an existing body of Perl code, to code for an
environment which only supplies a Perl interpreter, to use a C-coded
module that's only made available for Perl.

Roughly, again IMHO, the same goes for Cobol, Fortran or Javascript --
they don't have much to offer you 'intrinsically' once you know Python,
but some externalities might make it desirable to know one or more
of them -- externalities of the same kind as above described (wanting
to work for a shop that requires the language, to maintain or translate
existing legacy code, to use libraries or environments which will only
support one of these languages).

Other languages do have much to offer you, conceptually and/or
pragmatically.  With Java, C, or C++, you'll be able to extend Python
(Jython with Java, CPython with C or C++) to provide faster versions
of some algorithm or occasional deep system-specific interaction;
any of them will also teach you something about the worth and problems
of compile-time strong (but not _obsessively_ strong:-) typing.  SQL
will teach you to "think in sets" and non-procedurally, and also enable
you to use most effectively that crucial tool, relational databases.
Others may have weaker pragmatics (hard to get actual need for their
use), but good conceptual returns -- e.g., Haskell or ML variants for
functional programming, etc.


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