Is Python what I need?

Tomasz Rola rtomek at
Sun Aug 23 17:36:32 CEST 2009

On Sun, 23 Aug 2009, newbie wrote:

> Hi all
> I'm interested in developing computer based, interactive programs for
> students in a special school who have an aversion to pen and paper.
> I've searched the net to find ready made software that will meet my
> needs but it is either written to a level much higher than these
> students can cope with or priced beyond our school budget. I came
> across a blog of someone singing the praises of Python. My question is
> therefore aimed at those that know what they are talking about (ie
> users in this group). Is Python the language I need to learn to
> develop these programs?

Perhaps, maybe, yes.

Python has simple syntax and it can be grasped quite fast. It is also 
quite easy IMHO to go from easy interactive, calculator-like stuff to 
bigger things. It also has quite big library of specialized functions, to 
be used in bigger programs.

So if this is what you are looking for, it seems you are in the right 

You may also have a look at Squeak. It is an implementation of Smalltalk 
language. As far as I can tell, it is targeted for kid users or young 
students, who are interested in programming.

Or, I mean, Smalltalk is a general purpose language, just as Python. It is 
not a "kid language". Squeak, however, seems to be a bit easier for new 
users. After tinkering with it a little, I think it has few batteries not 
only included (like Python has) but connected to few toys as well. This 
makes it more playable than Python after unpacking the box.

Wrt languages, their "goodness" or differences between them - I am pretty 
much sure a number of people will start pointing them out to you. But I 
don't think this is really that much important. All languages are more or 
less similar because they serve the same purpose. Just try and do not use 
(Visual) Basic :-) and you should be ok. Well, maybe this is just me, but 
I consider VB to be a dead-end. Besides, if this is going to be "let's 
show them how interesting it is", you should stay away from languages more 
complicated, like Java. Those who are going to learn Java, will learn it 
anyway. Knowing something different and cool first should not kill them. 
Quite the contrary, it can be an eye opener.

Tomasz Rola

** A C programmer asked whether computer had Buddha's nature.      **
** As the answer, master did "rm -rif" on the programmer's home    **
** directory. And then the C programmer became enlightened...      **
**                                                                 **
** Tomasz Rola          mailto:tomasz_rola at             **

More information about the Python-list mailing list