Where is Python in the scheme of things?

Theerasak Photha hanumizzle at gmail.com
Tue Oct 10 10:45:27 CEST 2006

On 10/9/06, Magnus Lycka <lycka at carmen.se> wrote:
> gord wrote:
> > As a complete novice in the study of Python, I am asking myself where this
> > language is superior or better suited than others. For example, all I see in
> > the tutorials are lots of examples of list processing, arithmetic
> > calculations - all in a DOS-like environment.

> There are a number of free and commercial IDEs and GUI tool kits,
> but I don't know if there is anything that gives you such a low
> entry threshold for GUI development as VB or Delphi. I never
> "painted" GUIs in Python, I coded them in a plain editor, but
> you get used to that pretty soon, and you'll feel more in control,
> and the more complex your GUIs get, the more you can gain from
> having that control.

Before I say anything else, let me preface it with this: I am a
language-comparisons-discussion whore. Moving on...

Glade can be used with Python you know. I haven't tried Boa
Constructer yet, this is another interface building tool that seems to
have gained a lot of popularity. I do like the wx bindings though.

> I know, it's much easier to choose if you only have one choice,
> but this is the way things work in free software: no one tries to
> lock you in, so there is a flora of different tools suited for
> different needs. This makes it a bit harder to get started: You
> need to take more decisions--but you'll hopefully end up with
> something which is a better fit, where you don't need to work
> around the limits of the tool, or limit your world view to
> idioms supported a one-size-fits-all tool.

Historical note: Esperanto was a colossal failure. :)

> On the other hand it's more like C++ than like Java in the sense that
> it supports object-oriented programming, but it doesn't enforce it. C++
> and Python (as well as Delphi's Object Pascal I guess) can be described
> as multi-paradigm languages.

Ruby is also very good in this respect, although its procedural
programming really *isn't*, however it may look like it. But that's an
implementation detail. I like Python more because of the very strongly
positive direction it is moving in, and for sheer pragmatism of
more/better tools, better documentation, etc. It has its quirks, but
really...what doesn't? I am not a web framework geek, but I have heard
that CherryPy is better than RoR. If it isn't just the fact that
Python is older and more mature, maybe there is some insidious wisdom
in what look like kludges and warts to the untrained eye. I admire
matz and Guido van Rossum both, but Guido has all in all done a
fantastic job with the thousands of compromises that needed to be made
to produce a successful language. Like matz, he is also very humble in
spite of his great talents. (Which can't be said for Larry Wall,
though he is brilliant if perhaps misguided :))

(And to be fair, the B&D approach to OOP can *occasionally* have its benefits.)

> It was a revelation to bump into Python in 1996. Suddenly, there was
> something which was easy to get started with, but still just felt
> better and better the longer I used it. That's the killer feature
> in my mind.


-- Theerasak

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