Why did no one invent Python before?

Roy Smith roy at panix.com
Thu Jun 3 17:07:14 CEST 2004


Sion Arrowsmith <siona at chiark.greenend.org.uk> wrote:
> A more pertinent question might be why, when languages like this 
> appeared some time ago, are monstrosities like C# still being 
> created?

Here's my take on the currently popular languages...

C took off in the late 70's and early 80's because it was so much better 
than the alternatives, and because it was wrapped up with Unix (about 
which the same thing can be said).  C really was (and still is) a very 
good language for what it was intended for: low level procedural 
programming.

C++ took off in the mid to late 80's because it answered a need for OO 
functionality while maintaining backwards compatability with C.  It also 
added a few useful features C was lacking.  Unfortunately, it also 
suffered from a bad case of "second system syndrome".  It piled one 
complicated feature on top of another, and grew to be an ugly monster.  
But don't underestimate the power of the C compatability; for better or 
worse, that is what made C++ become so popular.

Java took off in the 1990's for two reasons.  One is that it answered a 
need for a OOPL which didn't suck quite so much as C++, while still 
looking and feeling enough like it to make people comfortable.  The 
other (and far more critical), reason is that Java jumped on the web 
bandwagon with both feet.  Between applets and things like JSP (I 
actually think JSP is a pretty neat system), Java was the language to 
know if you wanted to be involved in web development in the 1990's, and 
everybody in the 1990's wanted to be involved in web development.  You 
could have duct-taped a dead whale to the side of the web bandwagon and 
it would have gotten pulled along.  The fact that Java was being hyped 
by Sun, the darling of the 90's, didn't hurt either.

I must confess to not knowing much about C#, but my (somewhat ignorant) 
take on it is that it's taking off because it's yet another language 
that doesn't suck quite so much as C++, while still looking and feeling 
enough like it to make people comfortable, and it's duct-taped to the 
side of the Microsoft bandwagon.

All python did was provide a good programming environment.



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