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Re: Python is fun (useless social thread) ;-)

 
 
Carl Trachte
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      06-15-2006
---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: Re: Python is fun (useless social thread)
From: "Carl Trachte" <(E-Mail Removed)>
Date: Thu, June 15, 2006 8:21 am
To:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

>
> So out of curiosity, I'm just wondering how everyone else came to learn

it. If you feel like responding, I'll ask my questions for easy quoting:
>
> Did you have to learn it for a job?


Yes. I was a production geologist in a copper mine in the mid 90's. Our
mine planning software vendor Mintec (www.mintec.com) had chosen it as
their API for programmatic access to the three dimensional geologic block
model and two dimensional polygons that defined geologic shapes on a level
bench or in vertical cross section.

>
> Or did you just like what you saw and decided to learn it for fun?


That too. I had been using Visual Basic. For what I was doing (mine
engineering), there was just a lot more functionality available in Python
and its external modules (numeric, for example). Organizing a lot of
engineering data dumped as text is easier in Python than it is in VB
(IMO), because of the way Python handles lists and dictionaries.

>
> Also, how did you go about learning it? (i.e., like I described above, I

started with the main stuff then moved on to the different available
frameworks)

I started with Mintec's mine planning software API, then realized that a
lot of stuff was easier in Python. VB was great for making GUI's quickly.
Python (Tkinter) is harder because you have to code your windows
(although once I got over that initial hump, it got a lot easier - there's
decent documentation for Tkinter on the web, and it doesn't cost a
thing!).

My employer was good enough to send me to M. Lutz' 3 day course on Python
in Colorado. This was helpful. Up until that time I had been coding VB
in Python (a lot of it was "translating" code from one language to the
other). After that course I started to think in Python and make better
use of the features Python had (OO, exception handling, etc.).

>
> Was there any necessity in the specifics you learned, or did you just

dabble in something (e.g. wxPython) for fun?

As I mentioned with the Tkinter example above, there was almost always
necessity. Fortunately the stuff we do necessitates a lot of different
language features and modules. The datetime module was something I didn't
know about until I bought the latest version of the Python cookbook. The
thing is a huge productivity boost, especially for the stuff I do
(daily/monthly/yearly production reports).

>
> Are there still some things you feel you need to learn or improve?


Always. Always. Always. Extending to Fortran and C are things I'd like
to accomplish. There is a lot of old, but useful Fortran code around. If
you can marry it with Python instead of trying to rewrite it, that's a lot
of coding time (and money) saved. There are accounts of this sort of
thing out on the web, but I'm yet to accomplish it myself. Langtangen's
scientific Python book offers a start. I've got a copy and have read
through it, but I've got to work on some real examples before I have any
success with it. I'm not there yet.

>
> Additional comments/complains here:


Life's too short to use and enjoy everything Python's got to offer.

> --
> http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/python-list
>



-Carl Trachte



 
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Cameron Laird
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Posts: n/a
 
      06-25-2006
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>,
Carl Trachte <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
.
.
.
>Yes. I was a production geologist in a copper mine in the mid 90's. Our
>mine planning software vendor Mintec (www.mintec.com) had chosen it as
>their API for programmatic access to the three dimensional geologic block
>model and two dimensional polygons that defined geologic shapes on a level
>bench or in vertical cross section.
>
>>
>> Or did you just like what you saw and decided to learn it for fun?

>
>That too. I had been using Visual Basic. For what I was doing (mine
>engineering), there was just a lot more functionality available in Python
>and its external modules (numeric, for example). Organizing a lot of
>engineering data dumped as text is easier in Python than it is in VB
>(IMO), because of the way Python handles lists and dictionaries.
>
>>
>> Also, how did you go about learning it? (i.e., like I described above, I

>started with the main stuff then moved on to the different available
>frameworks)
>
>I started with Mintec's mine planning software API, then realized that a
>lot of stuff was easier in Python. VB was great for making GUI's quickly.
> Python (Tkinter) is harder because you have to code your windows
>(although once I got over that initial hump, it got a lot easier - there's
>decent documentation for Tkinter on the web, and it doesn't cost a
>thing!).
>
>My employer was good enough to send me to M. Lutz' 3 day course on Python
>in Colorado. This was helpful. Up until that time I had been coding VB
>in Python (a lot of it was "translating" code from one language to the
>other). After that course I started to think in Python and make better
>use of the features Python had (OO, exception handling, etc.).
>
>>
>> Was there any necessity in the specifics you learned, or did you just

>dabble in something (e.g. wxPython) for fun?
>
>As I mentioned with the Tkinter example above, there was almost always
>necessity. Fortunately the stuff we do necessitates a lot of different
>language features and modules. The datetime module was something I didn't
>know about until I bought the latest version of the Python cookbook. The
>thing is a huge productivity boost, especially for the stuff I do
>(daily/monthly/yearly production reports).
>
>>
>> Are there still some things you feel you need to learn or improve?

>
>Always. Always. Always. Extending to Fortran and C are things I'd like
>to accomplish. There is a lot of old, but useful Fortran code around. If
>you can marry it with Python instead of trying to rewrite it, that's a lot
>of coding time (and money) saved. There are accounts of this sort of
>thing out on the web, but I'm yet to accomplish it myself. Langtangen's
>scientific Python book offers a start. I've got a copy and have read
>through it, but I've got to work on some real examples before I have any
>success with it. I'm not there yet.
>
>>
>> Additional comments/complains here:

>
>Life's too short to use and enjoy everything Python's got to offer.

.
.
.
Indeed.

Your testimony deserves particular attention, I think, because
I believe the applicability of Python and related techniques to
process control, engineering programming, and so on, is vastly
under-appreciated. Conventional wisdom in these domains sees
Visual Basic, Visual C++, and Fortran as suitable vehicles.
You've seen how limiting this is.

For reasons that I can elaborate at more length later, I'd love
to diffuse awareness of Python's potential in mining and other
"real-world" industries. The Agile Control Forum <URL:
http://www.engcorp.com/acf/RecentChanges > is made for just
such purposes. Although it's been rather quiet recently, that
might change soon. It'd be great to have you tell your story
in the ACF Wiki.
 
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Jane & Carl
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Posts: n/a
 
      06-26-2006
> I believe the applicability of Python and related techniques to
> process control, engineering programming, and so on, is vastly
> under-appreciated. Conventional wisdom in these domains sees
> Visual Basic, Visual C++, and Fortran as suitable vehicles.
> You've seen how limiting this is.
>
> For reasons that I can elaborate at more length later, I'd love
> to diffuse awareness of Python's potential in mining and other
> "real-world" industries. The Agile Control Forum <URL:
> http://www.engcorp.com/acf/RecentChanges > is made for just
> such purposes. Although it's been rather quiet recently, that
> might change soon. It'd be great to have you tell your story
> in the ACF Wiki.
> --
> http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/python-list
>


Thanks! I'll have a look at the Agile Control Forum.

I get some pushback sometimes for using Python instead of VBA/Excel at work.
But my old department just sent two engineers for training with M. Lutz. So
there's hope. All in all, I think Python is a pretty good choice for
science, engineering, and process control. As you pointed out "coventional"
wisdom sometimes doesn't have the last, or the correct word on things.

Pythonistas of the engineering world, unite! (or something like that)

 
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