newbie: good reasons for learning Python?

Sean Ross sross at connectmail.carleton.ca
Sat Jun 21 00:31:24 CEST 2003


> I've been checking out some Python tutorials on the web, it looks cool
> enough. I'm already fairly good at JavaScript, ActionScript and PHP and
now
> I'd like to tackle Python. However, I still need to be convinced before I
> decide to dedicate my precious free time to this. So I'd like to hear some
> convincing arguments for Python.

I would say you'll have to try it before you can decide, so I'd suggest
trying the following:

1. Choose a medium project.
2. Implement it in one of the languages you already know.
3. Implement it in Python
4. If you see no benefit to having done 3., discontinue learning

For me it was more like:

1. Given a medium size project, I had my choice of programming languages.
2. Being familiar with several, I could predict which would solve the
problem with the least difficulty
3. I chose Python
4. I continue to choose Python.

Here's the thing: no one should have to convince you to learn anything.
Either you want to learn, or you find that it's to your benefit to learn as
many things as possible. For programming, once you've learned about 3-4
different methodologies of programming (using different languages for each)
you'll find that almost every other language uses all or parts of those
methodologies and learning those other languages becomes a matter of
recognizing the idiosyncracies. So it is beneficial to learn an OOP language
like Smalltalk, Ruby, Python, Java, C#; and a functional language like
Scheme, Haskell, ML, Dylan; a logic programming language like Prolog; a
generally useful language like C; and some assembly to really get an idea
about what's going on in your machine; as well as several others just for
fun :)  Each type of language has benefits and disadvantages, and each can
inform the other with new ways of approaching problem solving, which is the
purpose of programming.

The thing that I enjoy about Python is that it allows me to solve problems
using aspects from several of the different programming paradigms listed
above, in whichever combinations seem appropriate, all in one language with
a clean, clear, and consistent syntax. My appreciation for this language
stems from my familiarity with other languages, and the realization that
this language makes it easier for me to do just about every task I might
otherwise turn to those languages to do.

So, to sum up. Learn. It doesn't have to be Python, but it can be.






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