What is Python good for?

Van Gale cgale1 at _remove_home.com
Thu Sep 13 01:34:52 CEST 2001

"John Beppu" <beppu at binq.org> wrote in message
news:mailman.1000330590.19641.python-list at python.org...
> [  date  ] 2001/09/12 | Wednesday | 04:44 PM
> [ author ] Alex Martelli <aleax at aleax.it>
> > If you think Perl is easy to master, then you're a very unusual
> > sort of person.
> Not necessarily unusual -- just different from you.
> My background in /bin/sh and C programming made perl
> really easy, because it just felt like perl fit
> right in the middle.  I can't say perl was very hard
> for me to learn

When I first learned perl (sometime after 1.0, but before 2.0), I was having
to do a lot of system glue work with sh/csh/awk/sed.  Perl was a god-send
for me, and quite easy to learn.  Since then I had to work on an extremely
large project that was using perl 5.  I had a difficult time adjusting to
that environment in spite of having mastered perl 2, and maintenence of code
written by others on the project was a complete nightmare.

I'd define mastered as: 1) not having to reference the man page or a book
for anything during coding, 2) being able to read and understand code that
is intentionally obfuscated by the author, 3) know what language constructs
to avoid and how to use others properly (e.g. knowing how to construct a
regular expression with no, or at least minimal, backtracking).

I'd agree with Alex that Perl 5 is not easy to master using that definition.
Points 1 and 2 make Python easy to master.  Point 3 is a little harder in
Python, but even if you use a construct improperly (e.g. inefficiently)
someone else won't have any problem reading your code and understanding what
you were trying to do.  (Hmm, I suppose that isn't true for a program with
bad OO design... I find tracing object hierarchies tedious)

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