Python training time (was)

Jim jbublitzNO at
Wed Feb 5 19:33:19 CET 2003

Brandon Van Every wrote:
> I knew *every* aspect of C++ in 1994, but since then the language 
 > has grown. :-)  In 1996 I took a job that did only C.  I
> discovered how much I could get done with only C.  In 1998 I resumed 
 > C++ on my own.  I didn't bother to catch up to the current C++
 > standard until fairly recently.  The only "newfangled" thing I
 > make use of is exception handling.

My copy of _The C++ Programming Language - Second Edition_
(Stroustrup 1991) has a chapter on exception handling -
AFAIK it hasn't changed since then, and it's hardly
"new-fangled". I can't remember C++ without exceptions and
I've been using it since before 1991 I think. If you
think exceptions are "new-fangled" today, it's hard to see
how you knew *every* aspect of the language in 1994.

> I'm peripherally aware of various cast and operator tricks, but 
 > the need for them just hasn't come up.  Back in the day, STL
 > wasn't worth considering because it wasn't> really standard
 > and tended to be broken. Even today, I hear that vendors'
 > STLs tend to be broken, so I am leery of trusting any
 > long term development> to them.  I'd say the yawning gap in my
 > C++ knowledge is STL.  Other than that, I'd say I know 90% of
 > the language.

I don't disagree with your STL comments, however it just
serves to underscore the point that Python development is
likely to be quicker any time you need to manipulate
strings, lists, hashes/dictionaries, complex numbers,
generators,etc. - for the most part any time you program.

That goes beyond just having the basic datatypes to things
like slicing, sorting, efficient key searches, filters,
storage, etc. Of course you can write your own, but that's
the point - in Python you don't have to. You also don't
have to debug the implementation, and people who read your
code don't have to learn your particular implementation
either, so they save time too. All that stuff is part of
the language syntax and clearly readable, understandable
and usable. It's also mostly immune to things like buffer
overflows, dereferencing null pointers and memory leaks.


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