Thursday, June 3, 2010

Python stirs the hackersphere

By Vasudev Ram

Stimulating thread about Python on Hacker News (HN), triggered by Paul Graham's post - What Python Fixes

Here is the thread.

Some comments (or excerpts from comments) from the thread, that I liked:

- Python fixes maintenance.

- Python's a mature language for mature developers who want to produce mature software.

- Python often does tend to read like pseudocode.

- The language is well designed; the barrier to entry is low; the language allows for progressive discovery of its advanced features; it is powerful and flexible enough to allow an arbitrary combination of imperative, object oriented and functional programming; and the large, mature ecosystem of third party libraries means it can already do about 80% of just about any problem you can think to throw at it.

- Python is the most "boring" of the modern dynamic languages, in the sense that it trades exciting features and hip syntax for predictability and elegance.

To this I (Vasudev) say: if Python is a boring language (in the above sense), then I love boring languages :)

- For me, Python is the only language that addresses the human side of programming well. You just plain make fewer mistakes with Python, and it's way easier to reload code into your brain after not looking at it for a while. The readability and obvious syntax has vastly more far reaching effects than one thinks it will when first learning it. It's amazing how much more productive one is in a language that is easy to read, easy to type, and easy to figure out what the most likely way to do something is.

- Simple things are simple. Hard things are doable and still easy to read and maintain. Concise but not so much that it looks like line noise later.

- Python is probably the best example in recent history of a language that made it big not because it was anything radically new or innovative, but because it has a great standard library and a solid, mature implementation.

Note: I've only put some of the positive comments, above. If you're interested, read the other (including negative or not so pro-Python) comments as well, in the thread. However, there were not many negative ones (at the time of writing this post).

- Vasudev Ram - Dancing Bison Enterprises

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