CP4E and Python newbies, it works!

Rob Andrews rob at jam.rr.com
Thu May 31 21:36:54 EDT 2001

Ron Stephens wrote:
> I am a complete newbie, and with a very low programming IQ. Although I
> had programmed a little in college thirty years ago, in Basic, PL/1 and
> a very little assembler, and fooled around in later years on PC's at
> home with Basic, then tried PERL, then an effort at Java, they were all
> too much trouble to really use to program, given that it was a *hobby*
> that was supposed to be fun. After all, I have a demanding day job that
> has nothing to do with software, that requires extensive travel, and
> four kids, a wife, two dogs, and a cat. Java et al, by the time I had
> digested a couple of books and put in a lot of hours, was just no fun at
> all to program; and I had to look in the book every other line of code
> just to recall the syntax etc.; I could not keep it in my head.
> Now, four months into Python, after being attracted by reading a blurb
> about Guido van Rossum's Computer Programming for Everybody project, I
> am in awe of his achievement. I am having fun; and if I can do so then
> almost anyone can. I am really absent minded, lazy,  and not good at
> detail. Yet I have done the following in four months, and I believe
> Python therefore has  the potential to open up programming to a much
> wider audience for a lot of people, which is nice:
> 1. I have written a half dozen scripts that are meaningful to me in
> Python, more than I ever accomplished with any other language.
> 2. I am able to have fun by sitting down in the evening, or especially
> on a weekend, and just programming in Python. The syntax and keywords
> are gratifyingly just in my head, enough anyway that I can just program
> like I am having a conversation, and check the details later for errors
> etc. This is the most satisfying thing of all.
> 3. I find the debugger just works; magically, it helps me turn my
> scripts into actual working programs, simply by rather mindlessly
> following the road laid out for me by using the debugger.
> 4. I have pleasurably read more Python books from front cover to back
> than I care to admit. I must be enjoying myself ;-)))
> 5. I am exploring Jython, which is also pleasurable. After fooling
> around with Java a couple of years ago, it is really a kick to see
> jython generating such detailed Java code for me, just as if I had
> written it (but it would have taken me untold pain to actually do so in
> Java). Whether or not I actually end up using the java code so
> generated, I still am enjoying the sheer experience.
> 6. I have Zope and other things to look forward to.
> 7. I am able to enjoy the discussions on this newsgroup, even though
> they are over my head technically. I find them intriguing.
> Now, I may never actually accomplish anything truly useful by my
> programming. But I am happy. I hope that others, younger and brighter
> than myself, who have an interest in programming, but need the right
> stimulus to get going, will find Python and produce programs of real
> value. I think Guido van Rossum and his team should be very proud of
> what they are enabling.
> The CP4E idea is alive and well. My hat's off to Guido and the whole
> community which he has spawned, especially those on this newsgroup. I am
> humbled and honored to read your erudite technical discussions, as a
> voyeur of mysteries and wonders I can only dimly see on the horizon, but
> that nonetheless fill me with mental delight.
> Ron Stephens

Pretty much my story, too. Siegbert Tarrasch used to say that "Chess,
like love, like music, has the power to make men happy." The same is
true of Python.

I'm not a software engineer by any stretch of the imagination, just a
guy who downloaded Python after concluding that Diablo had reached the
point of diminishing returns one night. In less time than took me to
download Python 1.5.2 (before I had zippy broadband access), I had begun
to play with code creatively using IDLE and the bundled tutorial. But
the really scary part was that I understood a good deal of what was
going on and actually had fun.

As I spent more time flirting with the language in my Copious Free Time,
I kept dreading the time when the fun would wear off. But it has yet to
do so. It's been over a year now, and I like Python more today than

The fact that Pythonistas are the least oppressive bunch of hackers I've
ever met doesn't hurt, either.

Cheers to a Good Thing,

Useless Python!
Kinda like the AOL of the Open Source Community 3;->

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