Boo who? (was Re: newbie question)

James Stroud jstroud at mbi.ucla.edu
Tue Dec 21 01:46:59 CET 2004


I think the python community should be prepared to accept an increasing number 
of people who just want to get something done with whatever tools they have 
available (windows, mac, .net, etc) and with whatever skills they already 
have acquired. For example (having been in this situation before) a biologist 
may need to write a program to make a calculation on a dataset so that a 
paper can be resubmitted with revisions. Maybe this biologist would love to 
read all of "The Art of Programming" but doesn't have a lot of time to 
determine that static typing is different than dynamic typing (or learn 
whatever fancy CS terms get thrown around these days) because a grant is 
hanging in the balance. For these people, "looks the same", is basically 
"almost identical". Trust me on that one.

The new breed of programmers will grab onto the easiest tools to use (e.g. 
shallow learning curve) and use them however they can. They will not study 
for 4 years about "compiler design" and "grammers" and other such esoteric 
pursuits, because they already studied for biology, or economics, or 
sociology, or whatever -ology happened to grab them when they were 20. No, 
the new breed will just want a chart that is a little to complicated to 
calculate in excel so they can make a figure so they can get out a paper or 
make a presentation.

Unfortunately for the language elitists, python happens to be this type of 
easy to use tool. In how many other languages is it almost as easy to 
calculate the eigenvectors of a matrix as it is to write the "hello world" 
program? I haven't found any--and then again, I haven't looked too hard. And 
that's the point.

So they (read "we") are coming. Be prepared.

James

On Sunday 19 December 2004 06:39 pm, Peter Hansen wrote:
> As one uninterested so far in .NET, and not concerned primarily
> with speed, and concerned definitely with maturity and stability,
> and not in the least interested in static typing, I thank you
> for saving me the time investigating further.
>
> "Virtually identical" indeed. :-)
>
> -Peter

-- 
James Stroud, Ph.D.
UCLA-DOE Institute for Genomics and Proteomics
611 Charles E. Young Dr. S.
MBI 205, UCLA 951570
Los Angeles CA 90095-1570
http://www.jamesstroud.com/



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