What is Python good for?

Cameron Laird claird at starbase.neosoft.com
Fri Sep 14 14:18:00 CEST 2001

In article <3BA0293F.F558764A at engcorp.com>,
Peter Hansen  <peter at engcorp.com> wrote:
>Ken Seehof wrote:
>> Some languages are exceptional at one thing and weak in others.
>> Other languages are more general purpose.  Python is a general
>> purpose language.  In fact, there really isn't any fancy trademark
>> ooh-aah feature to set python apart.
>I wonder whether Python is hands down the best "glue" language.
>I've found Python highly effective (more so than anything
>else I've tried or heard of) at:
> - calling other programs
> - text processing
> - calling DLLs (.so in *nix)
> - networking (sockets)
> - GUIs
> - automated testing
> - web stuff
> - specialized areas (e.g. numerical, XML)
> - probably half a dozen others I forget
>With the vast range of Python's applicability, coupled
>with its scalability, maintainability, and productivity,
>I see Python as being very much "ooh-ahh" in terms of 
>its ability to glue together all kinds of things with 
>a single language and with clean results, in short order.
>Does anything else come even close?
Tcl.  And Perl, for that matter.

Peter, I think you already know my opinion that
Python is the single best general-purpose com-
puting language we now have--better'n C, or Java,
or anything else.  As glue, though, yes, at least
Perl and Tcl merit consideration as rivals.

Others have already written adequately in this
thread about Perl.  I'll add only that Perl is
quite impoverished in regard to GUI toolkit bindings.

As glue, I rate Tcl tops.  Its models for invo-
cation of external processes and TCP/IP networking
feel safer to me--enough so to make a difference.
Also, Tcl/Tk has minor technical advantages over
Python's bindings that matter most when gluing.
Note that Tcl has a particularly distinguished
tradition of test automation (as well as its
meritorious record in Web service, text proces-
sing, and so on).

Cameron Laird <claird at NeoSoft.com>
Business:  http://www.Phaseit.net
Personal:  http://starbase.neosoft.com/~claird/home.html

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