Python is far from a top performer according to benchmark test...

Iwan van der Kleyn none at
Fri Jan 9 22:44:04 CET 2004

Carl wrote:
> I think this is an unfair comparison! I wouldn't dream of developing a
> numerical application in Python without using prebuilt numerical libraries
> and data objects such as dictionaries and lists.

Well, that may be true. And many applications spend most of their time 
in fast libraries anyway (GUI/DB/app servers) etc. Nice examples are Boa 
Constructor and Eric3 which are fully implemented in Python and run 
comfortably fast, thanks to the WxWindows and Qt libraries.

But I really dont' swallow the argument. In the few years that I'm 
working with Python, I've encountered  on several occasions performance 
bottlenecks. And often a solution through partial implementation in C or 
improvements in the algorithm is just not feasible. To paraphrase Kent 
Beck: in real life you make your program run, then work and then your 
manager says you've run out of time. You just cannot make it run as fast 
as you would like it as well.

In other words: it would be nice if Python on average would run faster 
so the need for optimisation would lessen. Psyco is a nice option to 
have, though not as clear cut as I thought it would be:

> The greatest advantage of Python is the great increase in productivity and
> the generation of a much smaller number of bugs due to the very clean and
> compact structure Python invites you to produce.

So dogma dictates. And I've found it to be true on many occasions, if 
not all. BUT, the famed Python Productivity Gain is very difficult to 
quantify. And for me that's a BIG but.  I'm trying to push Python within 
my company. Nicely presented "performance benchmarks" go down well with 
management, bevause those are quantities which are supposedly 
understood. And Python does not come across very possitively in that 



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