convince me

rzed Dick.Zantow at lexisnexis.com
Mon Aug 5 20:12:15 CEST 2002


"Kyle Babich" <kb at mm.st> wrote in message
news:mailman.1028559135.28233.python-list at python.org...
Well, I'm 15 years old looking to have a future in programming.  I've
been playing around with the basics of a few different languages (C,
C++, Perl, Python, and Java).  I know I want to learn C, but as far as
perl and python I'm trying to decide which.  I know right now perl can
be considered more marketable, but I also like python because it looks
to be growing and to have a good future.  But I started to learn perl
before I found python (from another perl developer ironically).  I was
wondering if there was anything that can be done in python that can't
be done in perl.

If your concern is *primarily* marketability, then your long-term
objectives should include Java, C++ and Perl, or at least that is
(approximately) true if you were looking for a job today. It will
probably still be true in a few years as well.

If you want to learn to program well, then in my opinion, Python is
your best first choice. Just learning the basics of the language
(assignment, datatypes, program control structures and stuff) is going
to be about the same in any of the languages you mention, although
Perl and Python mean a *lot* less typing. At some point you will want
to understand object-oriented programming, and Python's syntax makes
the concepts more clear from the start than any other language I've
seen. You don't have all the non-contributing syntactic baggage C++ or
Java have.

The beauty part is when you decide you need both fast program
development and high performance, which is when you realize that none
of the languages is ideal for both things. But to write critical code
(the stuff that really has to be fast) in C, say, and incorporate it
fairly easilty into quickly-developed applications in Python gives you
the best of both worlds. It's a little trickier to do the same with
Perl as the basis.

You might also find yourself in a Java shop, and it's also exceedingly
sweet to be able to use Python (in the form of Jython, actually) and
import Java classes directly. Again, you'll get the best of both
worlds, amaze your friends, keep your job when the layoffs begin, etc.
In my opinion, the Jython / Java combination is what makes Java
worthwhile at all.

Finally, if you just want to get stuff done now -- today -- all the
languages have a lot of resources available on the Web -- solutions
other people have found for problems similar to some you'll run into.
Perl has more canned solutions than Python right now, but the Python
recipes are growing fast, and they cover a lot of ground already. The
people in this newsgroup are an amazingly helpful and patient resource
as well. If you don't already know who I'm talking about, you will
soon find out. I myself don't find the newsgroups for any of the other
languages to be as friendly and just generally helpful as the
Pythonistas.

Is that neutral enough?

--
rzed





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