Hobbyist - Python vs. other languages

Matthew Fitzgibbons elessar at nienna.org
Thu Jul 31 22:28:26 CEST 2008

fprintf wrote:
> I have been playing with computers since I first learned to program
> moving shapes on an Atari 800XL in BASIC. After many years of dabbling
> in programming languages as a hobbyist (I am not a computer scientist
> or other IT professional), I have never found a way to stick with a
> language far enough to do anything useful.  I learn all about loops
> and data structures and functions/methods etc. but never get to create
> a program that will do anything of value that I can't more easily do
> via freeware. Well, except the slot car timing system I wrote in C++
> for Linux many moons ago.
> Honestly Python seems like a breath of fresh air and possibly a way to
> get back to my BASIC roots, you know, programming just for the fun of
> it.
> Since I don't have a specific problem to solve, besides
> Pythonchallenge (which I found very cryptic), and Project Euler (which
> I found beyond my mathematics skills), is there a place to go for
> increasingly difficult problems to solve? I have followed a number of
> the recommended online tutorials that contain a logical progression of
> problems and yet they all end at the point where a person has enough
> knowledge of the syntax, but not really enough to do anything.
> --
> http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/python-list

My situation's a bit different because I code for a living, but I also 
code sometimes for the heck of it. I come up with small, hobby projects 
one of two ways. (1) There's a whole lot of comp sci stuff out there 
that I don't know. So when I come across a new concept, pattern, etc., I 
write a little implementation. E.g., one day I was reading about how 
someone used memoization in a certain problem (don't remember what), so 
I thought "I bet I could do that as a decorator." So I did. (2) If you 
have some simple task, write a program to do it (even if there's a 
program out there already). E.g., I recently took a trip to Japan and 
decided to learn the kana before going. I found a website to help me 
learn them, then implemented my own version in Python for the heck of it.

If you just examine the things you do with a computer, and challenge 
yourself "I bet I can do that in 100 lines of Python," I think you'll 
find no shortage of projects.


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