Why isn't Python king of the hill?

Geoffrey Gerrietts geoff at homegain.com
Fri May 25 22:01:37 CEST 2001

I think that I've seen several places in this thread where kernels of truth
have emerged. Java scales better, Java has better coverage, and Java has
better toolkits for a lot of what's being done. It's not as easy a language
to work in, and not as flexible, but it's faster, and it's more accessible.

At HomeGain, we use Python and Zope. I love developing the Python code, but
its speed has given us a lot of concern. Some of my peers are not so
enraptured with Python, for various and sundry reasons of their own. I don't
think Java would make all of them happier, but it would make some of them

DTML and Zope are a mixed bag, too. Designers who are used to working in PHP
or ASP find DTML to be a little clunky, and having several designers working
on the same site has exposed a lot of the weaknesses in the
'browser-as-editor' model to us. I should note that we're using an old
version of Zope, but I'm not sure newer versions would solve the biggest
gripes I hear.

We are resolving these problems, and continuing to work in Python and Zope.
I am glad for this, mostly because I like writing Python code. However.

Scaling our python app across fifteen or sixteen boxes has been a challenge.
We have to make a lot of tradeoffs in the way we handle things. We have to
roll our own session management, we have to roll our own
database/persistence toolkit; our RPC mechanisms are add-ons. We have these
things, now, so a revamp in J2EE wouldn't really help us much. A fresh J2EE
developer doesn't really have any questions about this, though -- the J2EE
apps are designed to promote distributed computing, persistence, and lots of
other niftiness straight out of the box. Other technologies (Java Data
Objects, for example) promise to extend this even further. Yeah, it takes
longer to develop your core product in Java, but huge chunks of
infrastructure work are already done for you.

Java's tools have plenty of weaknesses, too. The Java standard library is
so-so, and doesn't even begin to compare with the NeXT libraries. In fact,
Apple's WebObjects has a great set of toolkits, and it's a great app server,
too -- in Objective C or Java. It doesn't scale as well as the J2EE stuff,

I love developing software in Python, because I love the flexibility and
ease of introspection the language offers. It's very easy to do enormously
sophisticated things! On the other hand, if I were starting a fresh web app,
I would hafta recommend a Java solution, with an eye toward J2EE
compatibility. The tools are better suited for long-term growth, the
community is larger, if not as friendly or approachable, and the performance
of the final product is better on a resources-per-transaction basis.

Geoff Gerrietts <geoff at homegain.com>
Software Engineer, HomeGain.com
510-655-0800 x4320

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Kemp Randy-W18971 [mailto:Randy.L.Kemp at motorola.com]
> Sent: Friday, May 25, 2001 8:19 AM
> To: python-list at python.org
> Subject: RE: Why isn't Python king of the hill?
> For some good general answers to J2EE basic questions, look 
> at the FAQ at
> http://www.jboss.org/business/faq.html
> -----Original Message-----
> From: D-Man [mailto:dsh8290 at rit.edu]
> Sent: Friday, May 25, 2001 10:02 AM
> To: python-list at python.org
> Subject: Re: Why isn't Python king of the hill?
> On Fri, May 25, 2001 at 01:43:29PM +0000, Sheila King wrote:
> | On 25 May 2001 05:53:01 -0700, kalath at lycos.com (Mark 
> Brady) wrote in
> comp.lang.python in
> | article <e840346c.0105250453.42a0520d at posting.google.com>:
> | 
> | :why for them at least, J2EE is king of
> | :the Hill.
> | 
> | What is J2EE ?
> Java 2 Enterprise Edition
> http://java.sun.com/j2ee/glossary.html#35943
> EJB is "Enterprise Java Bean"
> http://java.sun.com/j2ee/glossary.html#21914
> (Does "Enterprise" actually mean anything besides lots of 
> marketing, and the
>  ship on Star Trek?)
> -D
> -- 
> http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/python-list

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