About alternatives to Matlab

Robert Kern robert.kern at gmail.com
Sun Nov 26 06:52:19 CET 2006

Phil Schmidt wrote:
> sturlamolden wrote:
>> Using Python just for the sake of using Python is silly.
> Well, that kind of gets right to my point. Does the "added" effort with
> Python to interface with data acquisition hardware really result in
> less productivity? I am very familiar with Matlab, Labview, and Python,
> and frankly, Python is the most productive and powerful programming
> language of the three. But it's the hardware compatibility thing that
> concerns me with Python.

Without knowing the hardware that you want to use, it's quite difficult for us
to tell you anything useful. Most likely, you're simply going to have to sit
down with a list of the hardware that you want to use, the existing solutions
for interfacing with that hardware (e.g. already written MATLAB, LabView, or
Python extension modules for that hardware), and their costs. You're going to
have to weigh those costs against the cost of using ctypes or something similar
to wrap the raw DLLs if a Python extension module isn't available.

We might be able to help you locate the already-existing Python wrappers for
your hardware, but the rest are judgement calls that only you can make. To make
an accurate judgement, you will probably need to have a little bit of experience
trying to wrap one such raw DLL. If you can't afford the time to do that one
experiment, then you probably have your answer.

Robert Kern

"I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma
 that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had
 an underlying truth."
  -- Umberto Eco

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