Where is Python in the scheme of things?

Tim Chase python.list at tim.thechases.com
Wed Oct 4 23:18:08 CEST 2006

Not sure if this is a troll...I've seen several of these sorts of
posts on the list.  But it seems innocent enough, so I'll bite. :)

I'm not sure Delphi is really one of the "big 3"...surprisingly
Java and C# don't make your list.

> What is particularly disappointing is the absence of a Windows
>  IDE, components and an event driven paradigm.

I've not tried any of the gui-builders that are out there.
However, I understand that several exist.  I'm just a contented
vim junkie.

As for the event-driven paradigm, you might want to investigate
both the standard tkinter package, or the commonly used wxpython
package (recently praised/reviewed/talked-up on Ron Stephen's
Python411 podcast).  Both have a main-loop processing method that
gets called, and then feeds messages to your various objects via

> How does Python stand relative to the big 3, namely Visual 
> C++, Visual Basic and Delphi?

Visual C++ minuses compared to Python
Half a bajillion lines of code to do the most simple of things.
Ability to shoot yourself in the foot with errant pointers.
Limited standard libraries (without chaining yourself to one
particular platform in general).  Windows only for the most part
(okay, other C++ compilers exist, but you explicitly mention
VC++).  Minimal ability to interactively inspect/effect your
program.  Requires a compile/link phase.  Code is usually hard to
read.  Macros and templates make for a headache (or worse).  Two
files each for most productive stuff (your header & source) if
not more (your .o object file, your .lib output file, your .idl
interface file, your workspace file, your makefile, etc).

Delphi compared to Python
Delphi is nice.  It still takes more code to do a given task than
it does in Python.  It's very B&D (none of this sissy
"pseudo-type-checked" syntax of C/C++/Java where int-types are
really just ints with Groucho-glasses...types are types in
Delphi!), which can be good or bad according to your tastes.
Still requires a compile/link phase, but not as long as C/C++
does.  Somewhat more portable than VC++, as there's Kylix for
Linux, but still not as universally available as Python.  I can't
malign it too badly as I have a soft spot in my heart for

Visual Basic compared to Python
VB shares some interesting aspects with Python...namely it's much
more readable than the other two.  It's syntax is clunky at best,
with goto's, and cobbled-on exception handling (at least in
VB-Classic, as opposed to VB.Net with which I have no experience,
thank goodness).  It's good for hammering together a quick form
and dropping some code behind it.  However, it's not exactly
portable to other platforms (though there is the Gambas project
that offers VB-ish development on *nix platforms).  It's not
terribly object-oriented, so doing OO-related stuff is next to
impossible.  Functions aren't first-class objects, so you have to
do some funky workarounds.

I might be exaggerating regarding C++ and the half-a-bajillion
lines...it may only be something like a quarter-of-a-bajillion lines.

> I realize that these programming packages are quite expensive
>  now while Python is free (at least for the package I am using
>  - ActivePython).

I had heard that VC++ and VB had free standalone stripped-down
versions available for download.  And Borland had a beginners'
edition of Delphi available for free download at one point as
well.  All hearsay until proven otherwise, but that was my feable

But I'm also gonna have to agree with Paddy, about the "better
than all three".  And the "knobs" bit.

My $0.02 ramble...


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