Can Python replace Visual Basic? Should it?

Tim Rowe digitig at
Wed Mar 7 23:24:00 CET 2001

In article <5DZo6.11126$hn5.1578410 at>, 
bbollenbach at (Brad Bollenbach) wrote:

> Okay, sure this has been asked again and again, but I've never really 
> seen a
> clear answer to this question:
>     Can Python replace Visual Basic? Should it?

I've seen a yes/no and a yes/yes answer so far to this. I'll add a 
no/maybe answer. That "no" is a /technical/ yes, but Python is never 
likely to have Microsoft's marketing muscle behind it (I hope!) and so 
will never replace Microsoft's language of choice. I work in a corporate 
environment that mandates VB (& VBA) for everything because it mandates 
Microsoft for everything and the people who do the mandating aren't 
interested in the technical issues -- we deliver using VB, so why should 
they have the maintenance overhead of multiple languages (even multiple 
MS languages)? Python isn't going to overcome that sort of corporate 

But when I'm given a choice, I now use Python for everything. There is 
stuff I wouldn't use it for (safety critical, for one) but I don't do 
that stuff. I keep C++, Delphi, Eiffel and Ada in a back pocket; I have 
Perl, Java, Fortran, Prolog and even Forth on a mental back-shelf, and I 
would pull any of them out if needed. But at the moment I don't need them. 
I don't know if that's because of the nature of what I do in my own time 
(mainly scientific and data manipulation, no serious GUI stuff) or if it's 
across the board advantages of the language. I suspect the former; I'm 
reminded of Michael Jackson's comment that if something helps you with 
every possible problem then it's not going to help you very /much/ on any 
/particular/ problem. I'm going to try to keep a varied set of programming 
tools clean and sharp.

So that's another reply in vague generalities that's not going to be much 
use to you :-)

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