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Why Python?

 
 
Ben Finney
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      03-01-2004
On Mon, 01 Mar 2004 02:11:46 GMT, Todd7 wrote:
> I am looking at learning Python, but I would like to know what its
> strengths and weaknesses are before I invest much time in learning it.


A Google search that should be helpful:

<http://www.google.com/search?q=%22why+python%22>

--
\ "A politician is an animal which can sit on a fence and yet |
`\ keep both ears to the ground." -- Henry L. Mencken |
_o__) |
Ben Finney <http://bignose.squidly.org/>
 
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Todd7
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      03-01-2004
I am looking at learning Python, but I would like to know what its
strengths and weaknesses are before I invest much time in learning it. My
first thought is what is it good for programming, however I expect an
answer from the python newsgroup to be something like "everything". So
maybe a better question is what type of programming projects is Python a
bad choice?

What makes it better or worse than languages like perl, php, delphi, or
c++?

Thanks for your opinions.

Todd.
 
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Robert M. Emmons
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      03-01-2004
> I am looking at learning Python, but I would like to know what its
> strengths and weaknesses are before I invest much time in learning it.


All of the other answers above are good. I would say the followng:

* Python is easy to learn. I learned it in an afternoon -- that's an
experienced programmer. It's ideal for a beginner as well.
* Good cross platform support both windows and linux. Never re-write
code again. Also writes very fast to begin with--good RAD tool.
* To write just about anything all you need to know is python, C/C++,
and a little JavaScript if you want to make web pages. That's it.
Python has a huge application range--small scripts, full up
applications, cgi scripting for the web. You can even integrate it with
the Mozilla platform for local cgi like functions.

What's not good in python:

* If speed is more important than coding time use C/C++ instead.
* If you want to obscruate your code maybe a compiled langague is better.

Rob
 
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John Hunter
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      03-01-2004
>>>>> "Todd7" == Todd7 <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

Todd7> What makes it better or worse than languages like perl,
Todd7> php, delphi, or c++?

perl - both python and perl have many, many external modules written
for them. perl *may* have more. Some people like that perl has CPAN,
a central repository for modules. In my opinion, this is not so
important now that we have google. python is object oriented in its
bones; with perl, OO is a hack. python favors a clean, simple,
obvious syntax, perl embraces "there is more that one way to do it."
For this reason, most python coders feel that python code is easier to
read and maintain.

php - widely used for web development and has a lot of nice packages
in this niche - bulletin boards, database interfaces, and so on.
python will have packages for each of these areas, but they are not as
widely used and are not industry standard, in the way for example that
phymyadmin is. php is not as powerful a programming language as
python is and is not widely used outside the sphere of web
development. See the recent thread
http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=e...%26scoring%3Dd

c++ - a big, powerful, complex language. Good for designing complex
software packages and code where performance is important. Makes
things like file IO, dbase and web connectivity harder than they need
to be. Many who use python favor a mixed language programming style:
use python for most everything, and write (or reuse) C/C++/FORTRAN
extensions for processor/performance intensive parts. There are many
good tools (SWIG, F2Py, boost:ython, etc) for automating the process
of creating python extensions of code from these other languages. If
you need high performance code, it's good to know how to write code in
at least one of these compiled languages.

My advice: learn python first. The community is very friendly and
receptive to newcomers (you won't find this on perl or C++
newsgroups). You'll get advice from world experts on coding and
style. python coders value elegant, readable, efficient, well written
code and will give you lots of advice along these lines.

JDH

 
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Qp
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      03-01-2004
Well, I'm new at it (started about 2 months ago in preparation for senior
design project), and the one thing I've seen that could be better is overall
documentation; sometimes it is hard to find what you're looking for
(especially in libraries like Tkinter for GUI programming and Twisted for
network programming). It's possible, just hard.

The good things I've noticed? Well, to do what I've done so far in Java
would have taken at least 5 and probably more like 10 times the code I've
written. A simple yet decent TCP chat server in about 30 lines of code is
something I never considered possible before looking at Python.

"Todd7" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:Xns949ECD7289AD6Todd7Nospampleasecom@68.12.19 .6...
> I am looking at learning Python, but I would like to know what its
> strengths and weaknesses are before I invest much time in learning it. My
> first thought is what is it good for programming, however I expect an
> answer from the python newsgroup to be something like "everything". So
> maybe a better question is what type of programming projects is Python a
> bad choice?
>
> What makes it better or worse than languages like perl, php, delphi, or
> c++?
>
> Thanks for your opinions.
>
> Todd.




 
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Todd7
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      03-01-2004
Thanks for all the well reasoned replies. I think I will make the
plunge.





Todd7 <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in
news:Xns949ECD7289AD6Todd7Nospampleasecom@68.12.19 .6:

> I am looking at learning Python, but I would like to know what its
> strengths and weaknesses are before I invest much time in learning it.
> My first thought is what is it good for programming, however I expect
> an answer from the python newsgroup to be something like "everything".
> So maybe a better question is what type of programming projects is
> Python a bad choice?
>
> What makes it better or worse than languages like perl, php, delphi,
> or c++?
>
> Thanks for your opinions.
>
> Todd.
>


 
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Rainer Deyke
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      03-01-2004
Todd7 wrote:
> What makes it better or worse than languages like perl, php, delphi,
> or c++?


I'll focus on the weaknesses of Python instead of the strengths.

1. Computation intense Python programs tend to be slower than optimized
equivalent programs written in languages that compile to native code.

2. Python programs are somewhat difficult to distribute compared to programs
in languages that compile to native code.

3. Some other languages make it easier to detect certain classes of errors
in your code. With a few exceptions, errors in Python code can only be
found by actually running the code or by checking by hand.

4. Python is only somewhat flexible about allowing you to customize the
language from within the language. You can define new functions and new
data types, but no new operators, no new control structures, nor any type of
new syntax. If you need to define a domain-specific language within your
program, Python may not be your best choice.


--
Rainer Deyke - http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed) - http://eldwood.com


 
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Ed Murphy
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      03-01-2004
On Mon, 01 Mar 2004 05:12:48 +0000, Rainer Deyke wrote:

> Todd7 wrote:


>> What makes it better or worse than languages like perl, php, delphi,
>> or c++?


> I'll focus on the weaknesses of Python instead of the strengths.

[snip]
> 2. Python programs are somewhat difficult to distribute compared to
> programs in languages that compile to native code.


How do you figure this one? Something to do with statically linked
libraries? (I'm a Python newbie, but have been programming in general
for almost 20 years, about half of that professionally.)

 
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Rainer Deyke
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      03-01-2004
Ed Murphy wrote:
> On Mon, 01 Mar 2004 05:12:48 +0000, Rainer Deyke wrote:
>> 2. Python programs are somewhat difficult to distribute compared to
>> programs in languages that compile to native code.

>
> How do you figure this one? Something to do with statically linked
> libraries? (I'm a Python newbie, but have been programming in general
> for almost 20 years, about half of that professionally.)


Basically you have to distribute the Python interpreter along with your
program, since you generally can't rely on the end user having (the correct
version of) Python installed.


--
Rainer Deyke - (E-Mail Removed) - http://eldwood.com


 
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Michael
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      03-01-2004

>>>2. Python programs are somewhat difficult to distribute compared to
>>>programs in languages that compile to native code.
>>>
>>>

>>How do you figure this one? Something to do with statically linked
>>libraries? (I'm a Python newbie, but have been programming in general
>>for almost 20 years, about half of that professionally.)
>>
>>

>
>Basically you have to distribute the Python interpreter along with your
>program, since you generally can't rely on the end user having (the correct
>version of) Python installed.
>

It's really no harder a dependency to check than for shared libraries or
such with C programs.

 
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