Python--eclectic or ubiquitous

Edward Wilson web2ed at yahoo.com
Mon Jul 2 17:47:06 CEST 2001


Why is it that one can attempt the most daring tasks with Python, e.g.
write image manipulation programs, steer super computing applications,
write interactive games, parse XML, yet still can not perform the more
basic tasks of hitting a database and generating a report.

After five years of following Python, I haven’t seen much
improvement in the areas that seem to be the most natural fit for
Python: Commercial quality database support and robust web server
modules.  Are not developers more likely to write games in C,
Assembler, or C++.  And are not developers more likely to use
scripting languages for building web applications, and generating
reports.  The Python camp seems to be more enthusiastic about building
impractical solutions better suited for C libraries than for scripting
languages. I understand that it is COOL to do so, but what about
making Python more useful in the workplace so we can all start using
it more often.  One of the most annoying post I commonly see is,
"Python is great, but there aren't many Python jobs".

I write this out of frustration.  I want to bring Python into my
workplace, and eventually tackle everything with Python.  Yet first I
must to find and entry point.  For me, that entry point lies in
commercial quality database support, and some kind of web server
plug-in like mod_perl.  I know I can't be alone.  Python has so much
to offer, yet it’s impossible to handle the most common
scripting tasks--the tasks which present the most convincing arguments
to management.  I will never use Python to parse XML if I can not
first retrieve data from a database.

Is everybody too busy writing flight simulators and gaming engines? 
Is anybody interested in resurrecting PyApache and making it better
than PHP, and adding state-of-the-art database support for Oracle,
DB2, Sybase, and SQL Server.  Sure, I understand MySQL and Postgres
are supported, but I just convinced my group to start using Linux.  It
will be several years before we start using open source databases.

Python is without doubt, one of the finest-most-useful languages to
come around.  It stands to make computing so much more productive,
cutting costs, reducing bugs, shortening development times, and
bringing solutions to the market that would never be attempted with
other tools, due to the natural inherent risks of software
development.

I keep asking myself, “when will it be our (Python’s) time
to take center stage in the arena of software champions?”  Not
until developers can first handle the simple day-to-day applications. 
Everyone wants to be Super Bowl Champions, yet no one wants to first
excel at blocking and tackling—the very attributes which
champions are made of.  Python excels at everything except the basics,
the very tasks which make it acceptible.

Please don’t kill my thread, I would like to rally a group to
extend Python with what I feel it needs the most to gain the widest
audience at this time.  I would love to write applications, which talk
to the satellites and barrow time from the local super computer, but
first I have to retrieve the data from my company’s database.



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