Why would I learn Python over other languages?

Donn Cave donn at drizzle.com
Fri Jul 9 07:21:46 CEST 2004

Quoth Arthur <ajsiegel at optonline.com>:
| It seems to me sensible to believe that someone can become a quite
| decent, say C++ programmer, by tackling it as a first language, and
| sticking with it.
| I don't think that is true of Python. I think there is a layer of
| Python that one cannot reasonably penetrate without stepping outside
| of Python. 

It's odd that you would pick C++ for contrast.  I thought it was
nearly universally dismissed as the worst possible way to learn
object oriented programming, to the point that some people suggest
learning a real OOP language like Smalltalk first to inculcate the
basic principles.

I wouldn't claim that Python is particularly easy for pure beginners,
without more than the slim anecdotal evidence I have, but I would
be interested to hear what other sort of language experience you
believe it takes to get the whole story.

In my comment above about Smalltalk and C++, I don't mean to suggest
that Smalltalk helps anyone understand C++.  It's just supposed to
present a more focused object oriented programming model, and that
sense of the important principles is what it's about.  Of course it's
utterly different from C++ in most respects.

Does Python present some aspect of itself in a confused and incoherent
way?  Well, yes, of course - it's a terrible introduction to functional
programming!  But it's a terrible functional programming language anyway,
so a Haskell programmer wouldn't have a big advantage here.  In fact
there are enough subtle differences in what variables are and so forth,
that Haskell or for that matter almost any other language is going to
be a bit of a liability.

	Donn Cave, donn at drizzle.com

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