Myth: Python is ideal for beginners

William Sonna wsonna at
Fri Feb 7 03:10:35 CET 2003

On Thu, 06 Feb 2003 10:44:46 +0000, pedro alvarez wrote:

> 'Python is ideal for beginers'
> How many times have i seen that statement? Is python ideal for
> beginners?
> Upon close investigation and thinking, this is what i found out:
> The majority of the python communities resources are geared towards
> attracting and absorbing refugees from other languages, not attracting
> fresh young converts.( i myself run away from c/c++)
> Going around the web, u see tutorials on advanced concepts like gui's,
> oop,
> web programming etc. U dont see many that teach basic concepts, because
> usually it is assumed the reader cut his teath using c++, java etc.
> Also, given pythons own flexibility and open endedness, a fresh
> programmer might need some guidance, cos it might be easy to get
> confused.
> Granted, maybe in a university enviroment, with a lecturer giving
> guidance,
> it may be ideal.
> But is that how we all learned programming? No, most programmers as
> young children had access to pc's. Being curious, they wanted to tinker
> more.
> In my dos days, we used qbasic.
> And python is being recommended to those tinkerers.
> I think freshers should rather be asked to start with c or vb, cos
> theres loads
> of information for beginners.
> Also, without having to deal with braces and memory leaks in c, or vb's
> verbosity how is he going to appreciate python?
> So, the conclusion is the python community at the moment is an ideal
> refugee shelter,and not a place for fresh recruits. To further
> demonstrate, can u show me a prominent author who began his programming
> with python?(chuckle,chuckle) The only authors u see are example:
> 'George Python(or Osama Bin Python or Raj Python) was programming in
> fortran for
> 85 years before discovering python.'

In this world there are interpreter freaks and there are compiler freaks.

People who congregate towards Python are interpreter freaks.  They LIKE
tools that put MINIMAL restrictions on the kinds of things they can and
can't do with them.

A lot of them seem to think that it is a crime against humanity that
anyone should ever have the misfortune of having to use a compiled
language.  I think that attitude is nonsense, and if push ever comes to
shove they'll gladly crank out C++ if it pays the bills.

I also agree with you that Python is not a good choice for a first
programming language, simply because it is too far removed from the common
tongue of the day - Java.

I also think a beginner needs to think carefully about what the computer
knows and when it knows it, and compilers/linkers do a better job at
making the user aware of that then modern interpreters do.

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