[Python-talk] October meeting topics

Python python at venix.com
Fri Sep 23 12:22:06 EDT 2005

On Fri, 2005-09-23 at 11:04 -0400, Tom Bigford wrote:
> Python wrote: 
> > You are really asking for a relatively serious document and I do not
> > have the time, right now, to produce such a document.  Here are some
> > quick comments.
> >   
> who me?  I was only raising a point about why it's so hard to convince
> people to spend a *really* large amount of time learning python.  I'm
> not sure what document you are speaking of ;-)

I simply meant serious, detailed response as opposed to simply
proclaiming that Python's great.  There should be another language
conference soon at MIT.  This is a link to last year's


> >   
> Thanks for the specific responses.  I believe that those
> "shortcomings" are a matter of language expertise, rather than true
> problems with the language 
Python really is a stronger language than Java.  Functions are first
class objects.  Hashmaps and listarrays are embedded into the language
in ways that make their use easy and natural.  Classes support multiple

Paul Graham has an essay here about advocating Lisp
that sort of fits.

> So far we are speaking of only coding, clearly an important issue  ...
> To me, more important issues are:
> 1.  ease of maintenance, including readability.  I can't speak to that
> for python, but i know that well crafted Java is very readable.
Kent has already described Python as truly being executable pseudo code.

> 2.  scalability.  Large projects are rampant - is python suited?

Yes.  Google and others do have large Python projects.

> 3.  extendability.   are inheritance and polymorphism an inherant part
> of the language?

Yes.  Though polymorphism in Python is different from Java/C++

Phillip Eby has been doing work with generic functions in Python.

> I may be mistaken, but i can't remember any discussion of multi-person
> projects in python, or projects that have to be maintained.  All of
> these things are, of course, important to any 21st century programmer.
> > When forced to write code in Java I feel like I am in a potato sack
> > race, hindered by a set of artificial constraints.
> >   
> again, i believe this to be only a matter of Java experience.  i
> believe artificial constraints to be the main feature of HL
> progranmming languages ;-)

Well, to me, getting freed to create working code is a key to picking
any language.  

There are a lot of languages to pick from.  They all have strengths and
weaknesses.  You learn to live with the weaknesses of your chosen
languages, while trying to leverage the strengths.  In the case of Java,
you can have the best of both worlds.  Jython is Python for the JVM.
Sun has been awfully slow to embrace other languages (e.g. Nice) on the
Tim Bray is trying to change that.

Java is probably a bit of a sore spot with me because of pressure to use
Java (Corporate Policy) in situations where it could not succeed.  (e.g.
the Java Runtime on the target platform was missing needed components.)

> > Here are a couple of links that could be helpful:
> > 
> > http://www.hetland.org/python/instant-python.php
> > A quick intro with simple coding examples.
> > 
> > http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/3882
> > The true confession of yet another Python zealot.
> > 
> >   
> Thanks for the reply and the links - Tom
> -- 
> "It is in our lives, and not our words,
> that our religion must be read."  -Thomas Jefferson
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Lloyd Kvam
Venix Corp

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