Why would I learn Python over other languages?

Anthony Roberts acrobert-at-ucalgary-dot-ca at ucalgary.ca
Thu Jul 8 08:10:32 CEST 2004

I was ready to write a long response, but then I realized that all you 
probably need to know is speed. As in, how fast can I learn this?

Java will take you months to get good, years if you don't know any other 
languages yet. It will take books, large time investments, lots of 
busywork as you get comfortable with stuff, and lots of false starts as 
you discover new parts of the API. You can be good at Python in weeks.

The Java API dwarfs anything else I know. There are literally thousands 
of classes. I know the API well enough to make experienced programmers 
go "Woah! I never knew Java could do that!" and I still sometimes find 
it easier to write my own stuff than go looking for it in the docs. It's 
intimidating to newcomers, and it should be. It's pretty clean, but it's 
vast beyond any one person's ability to grasp.

Python can do everything Java can do, but you can eyeball the whole 
module list every time you're trying to figure something out. It's 
easier to try stuff as you go (interactive interpreter), and a lot of 
the busywork and toil has been rolled into language features that make 
it trivial. That ultimately makes everything less work and more fun.

To put it in perspective, I learned Java 3 years before Python. It was 
my language of choice. It took me two weekends with Python before I was 
more productive with it than with Java.

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