Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Poking Python with a Stick

I have been crash-coursing Python recently and I wanted to share some thoughts about it as they occurred.  As I haven't bothered to post for a long time - since I tend to get bogged down in the news & politics and other such gloomy bullcrap - I'm going to try focusing on this aspect for a while & see if things don't brighten up just a touch...

I had a few false starts getting going with Python.  There are a few things that leave someone scratching their head.  For one thing - Don't use Python 3.x yet.  (unless you are reading this far in the future)

The reasoning for this is that the Core Python Developers themselves expected adoption of 3 to take 5 years.  However there were performance problems with the 3.0 release.  As a result it is best to reset the clock to the 3.1 release, which was in June of 2009.  Hence, the appropriate time to start considering Python 3.x for production use would be after June of 2014.

But again, why wait so long?  I mean this isn't a complete rewrite like Perl6 - why should it take so long?  The answers have to do with all of the code written for Python 2.x.  There were some fundamental changes that were made that largely deal with making unicode more consistent as well as calling internal functions.  These involved syntactic changes.  As a result - a lot of code has to be rewritten, retested, debugged & rereleased.

Next, there is the question of learning the basic syntax and the flavor of the language idioms.  For this I have been working my way through Google's PyQuick 2 day class, the videos for which are available on YouTube.  Things on YouTube seem to be somewhat fluid, so here is a link to the first of these videos, but you are probably better off just searching for "PyQuick".

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