Considering migrating to Python from Visual Basic 6 for engineering applications

Dan Strohl D.Strohl at
Thu Feb 18 11:00:57 EST 2016

Disadvantages of python... (compared to VB)

That's a hard one, but here are my thoughts:  (keep in mind that these kinds of discussions are subjective and much is based on the background and experience of the coder, these are also assuming that 100% of your audience is on windows, as soon as you start talking about cross platform support, VB gets much harder to use (yes, you could use it on Linus, via a web based app, or an emulator if you HAD to).

- I find that VB is much easier at making quick GUI apps (for windows).

- VB is easier to integrate with office apps and other windows specific things (there are some python modules that will access office files etc, but if you want to have an engineering app that directly integrates / interacts with excel, VB is probably better.

- I find VB is easier to package and distribute.  (there are some good utilities that will take Python and package it into an exe, along with all of the needed pieces, interpreter, etc, but those all require some level of work to setup and make work... not a lot sometimes, but certainly more than "click compile" and copy the .exe file.

- VB is often, for simple apps, often simpler to learn for non-programmers.  (I know I will get slammed for that one).  For complex apps, I find VB harder to do things than Python, but for example, if I wanted to make a quick windows calculator, I would probably go to VB first.)

My approach is generally:

I use Python for:
- server apps, web based apps, plugins, modules, library development, or apps that I want to be able to expand later with plugins, console apps and utilities (things that I am only going to run from the CLI anyway),  performance focused apps (unless I need to go all the way to C for performance), anything that might ever need to be cross platform, apps that interact with other (non-Microsoft) apps.

I use VB for:
Quick user focused, non-web apps, apps that are used in or directly with Microsoft Office apps, apps that I am developing for someone else that is a VB programmer (or non-programmer but might poke at them).. apps that I need to distribute to lots of less controlled workstations that don't have python on them already.

These days, I find that I am using VB much less than Python, most of the reasons that I would pick VB can be overcome by developing a cloud app instead of a local app, but there are still times that VB is the right tool (for me at least).

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Python-list [ at] On
> Behalf Of wrong.address.1 at
> Sent: Thursday, February 18, 2016 7:33 AM
> To: python-list at
> Subject: Re: Considering migrating to Python from Visual Basic 6 for engineering
> applications
> torstai 18. helmikuuta 2016 17.21.32 UTC+2 Oscar Benjamin kirjoitti:
> > On 18 February 2016 at 11:32, Chris Angelico <rosuav at> wrote:
> > > On Thu, Feb 18, 2016 at 10:11 PM,  <wrong.address.1 at> wrote:
> > >> Almost everything points positively for Python. Thanks to all of you who
> have responded. But please also tell me the disadvantages of Python. If I start
> using Python, I should be aware of the price I am paying. Speed is not a big
> problem for me, so an interpreted language is fine. Is packaging/installing very
> messy? Do I create dozens of files for a simple program calculating the sum of
> two numbers and product of two numbers in text boxes with one command to
> be clicked? Can I learn this much in the first couple of hours?
> > >>
> > >
> > > There are a few warts, particularly on Windows, as regards packaging
> > > and third-party modules. Anything that's written in pure Python is
> > > fairly easy; stuff that's written in C is sometimes a bit hairy. But
> > > that's a limitation on the "extended library" of PyPI, not the stuff
> > > that comes with Python itself.
> >
> > For packaging/installing it really depends on what you're trying to
> > do. You have to understand that Python is used in many very different
> > ways in different environments and ecosystems so there just isn't a
> > single way of doing it.
> >
> > It sounds to me as if all of your needs can be solved in pure Python
> > code possibly using some of the popular extension modules from PyPI.
> > In this case it's actually very easy to package/install. You can
> > package your code simply by zipping it up with a file.
> > Someone who wants to install it will simply have a two step process:
> > first install Python (and possibly a few dependencies) and then obtain
> > the zip file with your code in it.
> >
> > --
> > Oscar
> This form of packing is not desirable. I can't ask other people to install Python on
> their machines, and I also would not want show most of the code doing the
> calculations.
> Another question I have is regarding reading numerical data from text files. Is it
> necessary to read one character at a time, or can one read like in Fortran and
> Basic (something like Input #5, X1, X2, X3)?
> --

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