Is Python growing?

Mark McEahern marklists at
Fri Jun 28 14:33:31 CEST 2002

[Matthew Dixon Cowles]
> Python is wonderfully easy to get started with. But someone who's new
> to programming doesn't need to learn everything about Python in order
> for it to be useful and fun. (That sounds obvious but it's less true
> in many other languages.) So if Guido adds a feature here and there,
> that doesn't necessarily make the learning curve much worse. I've been
> using Python for some years now and there are corners of the standard
> library that I haven't explored because I haven't needed to. Indeed,
> there are aspects of the core language that I haven't found out much
> about because I haven't needed them.

This is true for me as well.  For instance, I typically don't use map,
filter, zip, et al.  Paul Rubin replied to your post with an example that
used max and map to return the longest string in a list.  What's so
beautiful about Python is that all I had to do was fire up the interactive
interpreter and do this to remind myself of what map does:

  >>> print map.__doc__

So not only is the language incredibly expressive, clear, and pragmatic, but
it provides tools for exploration that make it easy to focus on what works.
Those tools allow you to expand your working subset of the language slowly
over time as needed.

// m


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