Home Page - 2002-07-21

Post date: Nov 29, 2008 3:45:35 AM

A night flight to Python [Read this article]

Python is a Scripting language like javascript, vbscript, beanshell, perl, Tcl etc. The role of any scripting language is to make programming more conducive for day-to-day tasks than for a sprawling project. Because of this requirement, usually these languages are freely typed; meaning you cannot (or need not) explicitly specify the type of the variables. One completely rare modern feature in Python is its indentation based code blocks; the curly braces of C, Java are made unnecessary with the requirement of well indented code blocks. One nice effect of this model is that the code is clean to look at and very readable. Though this feature might look odd for a Java or C coder, it is in fact very compact and effective. The beautiful article quoted in the Thinking in Python online book by Bruce Eckle, about the active open source guru Eric S. Raymond's first exposure and eventual love bond with Python, is a vivid and inspiring read for a start.

For sometime now, I'm feeling this stark gap. Like the rest of the Java world, I was thrilled by the power of Apache Jakarta Ant, the declarative XML build tool. But that too is very limiting sometimes when I'm pressed for a loop like processing.

...To say I was astonished would have been positively wallowing in understatement. It's remarkable enough when implementations of simple techniques work exactly as expected the first time; but my first metaclass hack in a new language, six days from a cold standing start? Even if we stipulate that I am a fairly talented hacker, this is an amazing testament to Python's clarity and elegance of design.