edgrsprj at ix.netcom.com
Mon Aug 10 22:43:26 CEST 2015
<rogerh906 at gmail.com> wrote in message
news:d6a3dfe4-8389-463b-ac66-a93f14a91a5e at googlegroups.com...
> Just learning Python and have a question.
Posted by E.D.G. on August 10, 2015
Roger's original post is largely a continuation of my July 25, 2015
posting regarding "Python Questions." His post does not actually explain
what the general goal is here. So I will explain it once again.
It has been my experience that researchers, particularly scientists,
need to have some versatile and powerful programming language available that
is compatible with the Windows operating system. The language needs to make
certain resources available to the researchers. And in some form it should
ultimately be compatible with other operating systems.
Among the needed resources would be the ability to open and close
files, read from and write to files, open "pipes" to other Windows programs,
execute system or shell commands, read and respond to keyboard key presses,
send text etc. to a running Windows program such as Notepad.exe and have it
printed on the screen, and read and write to the Windows clipboard.
Other important resources would be the ability to perform rapid
calculations and the ability to generate plots that could display on the
screen and also be saved as .png files etc.
The language also has to have the ability to be "cloned." That means
that it could be stored in some directory that could be copied from one
computer to another. And programs written with that language would then run
on the new computer. One person responding to my own earlier post stated
that this is possible with Python.
There are not too many programming languages that can do all of those
things. Perl and probably Fortran will. But we could not get simple
questions answered regarding how to do specific things such as open a "pipe"
to a running Windows program. And there are two versions of Fortran,
gfortran and F95 that we looked at. And we could not decided which one
would work better.
Python apparently also provides all of the necessary resources. And
as all of these posts demonstrate, it has the major advantage in that when a
question gets asked in the Python newsgroup, there is usually an answer.
It will likely be up to Roger to decide if we will go with gfortran
or Python since he does most of the actual computer program code
development. Even though he prefers True Basic, I explained that we can't
continue to use it. For example, with the versions we have been using, when
it is waiting for a key to be pressed it is using 100% of the processor
time. Perl and Fortran and probably Python just "go to sleep" while they
are waiting for the Enter key to be pressed. They largely stop using the
The following is an example of how it can be important for
researchers to have a powerful and versatile programming language available:
I needed a program that could generate data regarding the locations
of the sun and the moon in the sky in response to specific times entered.
Roger developed the basic equations with some help from another researcher.
And that took a while. But it probably took a full six months for us to
compare notes by E-mail and get the program into a final form that people
could download for free use.
That is just too much time. Researchers need to be able to do things
such as create simple charts etc. without spending months or years learning
some programming language or comparing notes with one another. So, an
entire Python directory that made that possible and that had clear
instructions for how to open and close files and create "pipes" etc. would
get the job done.
If Roger wants to use Python then we might use the ActiveState
version and then build those various resources into it. It reportedly
installs in a Windows environment without problems. And I myself have used
the ActiveState versions of Perl for quite a few years with a considerable
amount of success.
This assumes that the ActiveState version of Python can be taught to
do fast calculations and to generate charts. If that does not look possible
or easy then we will probably try one of the available scientific versions
Would researchers then put professional Python programmers "out of
The answer is probably just the opposite. Researchers want to do
research and not write computer programs. And if they can do at least some
programming themselves then it makes it easier for them to work with
professional programmers and explain what needs to be done. They are then
more inclined to work with the programmers. And they won't have to compare
notes with them for six months just to get a relatively simple task
Regards to all,
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