Python 2 times slower than Perl

Patrick W. anapraxis at
Fri Jul 20 15:44:52 CEST 2001

"Greg Jorgensen" <gregj at> writes:

> "Patrick W." <anapraxis at> wrote
> Patrick, I appreciate your thoughtful reply. I think we agree on the big
> picture.

And likewise.

> Personally I would be happy programming in C, Scheme, and Python as
> you suggest, but the real world is a lot messier. There's lots of
> legacy code written in COBOL, Fortran, PL/I, what have you. And
> there's lots of code that is written in languages that seem less
> than ideal choices to us Python-enlightened: Visual Basic, C++, and
> Java (give it ten years).

Sure. I guess that's going to be unavoidable for a long time to
come. The thing that bugs me (somewhat!) is that it *was* avoidable in
1996 when the worst excesses of the Java hype could have been nipped
in the bud. But I suspect that what you said about the psychology of
the "silver bullet" is going to make fools of us again and again.

BTW, I don't claim any superiority here over the average Joe here. I'm
still looking for the silver bullet too. I just find it hard to
stomach some of the popular "technologies" some people claim ARE
superior, and I wish we had better ways of differentiating the good
from the bad before our next wholesale adoption of the "new".

> I'd add SQL (or something like it) to your list. Not for writing entire
> programs, of course, but when dealing with relational sets you want a
> language designed for that. That's not to say that relational databases are
> the only way to organize data, but they are an efficient way to organize
> some kinds of data, and more important lots of valuable data is already
> stored in relational databases. When junior programmers ask me what language
> they should learn to maintain their marketability, I always recommend SQL.

Indeed. Well spotted. That's an important missing piece. There's
always going to be a need for some kind of declarative query language,
for as long as natural language systems aren't good enough. SQL is one
special-purpose hack that *does* make good sense.

Actually, in the spirit of CP4E, it probably ought to be part of the
layman's vocabulary too, not just a programmer's tool.

[Snipped some benchmark stuff. Agree with all that.]

> Python's clear syntax, rich built-in data types, and excellent standard
> library appealed to me right off when I read Guido's tutorial. A few hours
> of experimenting proved to me that I could easily write useful Python
> programs, and that those programs excecuted acceptably fast enough for most
> of my purposes (and I'm one of those C programmers who thinks in
> C). 

Same here. My background is mostly C, but Python 'felt' right from the
start. So far I've found it simple without being at all limiting, and
to me that's the hallmark of good design. It's also fast enough for
just about everything I do.

> When newbies post their "benchmarks" in comp.lang.python I cringe
> because they are blind to the most important things about Python.

Heh. Imagine how Lisp implementors feel. There's always gonna be some
pimply-faced fool around to spread the word that Lisp is "big and
slow". And that Java is more elegant, more object oriented. And of
course "better designed".


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