Python -- (just) a successful experiment?

Discussion in 'Python' started by Paul Rubin, Aug 7, 2005.

  1. Paul Rubin

    Paul Rubin Guest

    "Eric Pederson" <> writes:
    > Maybe:
    > -- Automatic dependency handling
    > -- Tightly coupled GUI package ("tightly coupled" ~= "Pythonic")
    > -- High level IDE (i.e. intuitive drag and drop GUI builder)
    > -- High level database framework (perhaps a mature, killer Dabo)
    > -- Powerful web framework as good as the language (and simple enough for the PHP guys to use)
    > -- Etc.


    Are you saying Ruby on Rails has all that in the quick-install?
     
    Paul Rubin, Aug 7, 2005
    #1
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  2. Raise your hand if you think the best technology wins!


    For those of you with your hands in the air, tell me: if Python is so good, why has PHP achieved such greater adoption and mindshare? Why do web scripters still cling to their Perl, even in corporate environments? Why hasn't Python made inroads against Java? Why is Ruby, and Ruby on Rails, getting such strong play?

    Are these better programming languages, or is it other factors?

    On a whim I installed Ruby on Rails today - pretty much a one-click deal. It was a very slick (Windows) installation, as it automatically figured out and downloaded dependencies - there was no question it was properly installed, and I ended up with a couple "IDE"s for Ruby, examples, etc. Markedly better than installing Python - no contest - and this downloaded a useful and easy to employ application, with a clear path to show me how to use it..

    As I perused the tutorial like documentation, I realized I wasn't anxious to jump into the language (Ruby), but I saw that I could certainly achieve a quicker success putting together a web application with RoR than with (take your pick: Perl, Lisp, Java, etc. etc.) If my mind wasn't appreciative of the Python language, though, Ruby would have hooked me right there.

    While I perceive that the future of the language Python is in good development hands - well debated, and thoughtfully strategized; the Python accoutrements can be lacking.

    Imagine, if you will, a new car, that does 0-60 in 2 seconds, 60-0 in .2 seconds, has a top speed of 185 mph, corners on par with an F-1 car, costs no more than a Volkswagen Passat... but comes without tires or seats, and you have to install the electrics and brakes yourself.

    Sure, car geeks are going to love it, but you just are not going to see that many at the grocery store, or doing car pool duty, and no garage really works on them much... forget about finding parts, you have to make your own replacements.

    I am not saying Python is that car, but I do think that "Python", as opposed to "Python the computer language specification", is done a great disservice by the lack of certain accoutrements. I do not know if there are features of the language (specification or philosophy) which thwart the development of the complementary items, but I firmly believe that the lack of them is a factor in Python's ho-hum adoption rate.

    A good computer language is great, but it pales in comparison with what can be done with such a language.

    What is missing?

    Maybe:
    -- Automatic dependency handling
    -- Tightly coupled GUI package ("tightly coupled" ~= "Pythonic")
    -- High level IDE (i.e. intuitive drag and drop GUI builder)
    -- High level database framework (perhaps a mature, killer Dabo)
    -- Powerful web framework as good as the language (and simple enough for the PHP guys to use)
    -- Etc.

    Applications like Zope and Plone help drive more people toward the language, though the competition is stiff.

    Dozens of competing half baked tools/applications... they just confuse people and take up their time with decision paralysis, though they may be fun to write.


    Is it wrong to appreciate Python as a language, but want to have the nice accoutrements we see in some competing languages?



    EP
    Disclaimer: only recently downloaded Eric3 for Windows, and it looks good, but I haven't had time to learn it yet. Whatsup with the troll, though?



    ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
    domainNot="@something.com"
    domainIs=domainNot.replace("s","z")
    ePrefix="".join([chr(ord(x)+1) for x in "do"])
    mailMeAt=ePrefix+domainIs
    :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
     
    Eric Pederson, Aug 7, 2005
    #2
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  3. Paul Rubin

    Kay Schluehr Guest

    Eric Pederson wrote:
    > Raise your hand if you think the best technology wins!


    Who is interested in such a matter? Is this a forum dedicated to some
    programming language or a popularity contest?

    If Python dies in a few years / looses attention but the Python Zen
    survives in another language I have nothing to complain.

    > For those of you with your hands in the air, tell me: if Python is so good,
    > why has PHP achieved such greater adoption and mindshare?


    PHP, Ruby and all this stuff is just the fashion of the day. If the
    flow of money takes another direction away from Web programming I
    believe there will still be C, some successor of Python, some members
    of the ML/Haskell family rooted in CS, a deviation of C++/Java/C# and
    some Lisp offspring and of course the new fashion of the day.

    And in the end if the success of any language becomes dangerous somehow
    it will be cloned and *improved* by Microsoft.

    Kay
     
    Kay Schluehr, Aug 7, 2005
    #3
  4. Paul Rubin

    Paul Boddie Guest

    Eric Pederson wrote:
    > Why do web scripters still cling to their Perl, even in corporate environments?


    Ignorance. One could argue that Python should be promoted more, but
    Perl had the "cool tool" buzz a good ten years ago. Such habits don't
    fade away very quickly.

    > Why hasn't Python made inroads against Java?


    I would guess that most people deploying Java want to be able to buy
    and deploy some big name product with the pretense that they can always
    switch to another big name product later on, all in the name of
    "multiple vendor support".

    > Why is Ruby, and Ruby on Rails, getting such strong play?


    Relentless hype from blogging celebrities?

    [...]

    > Applications like Zope and Plone help drive more people toward the language, though the competition is stiff.


    If you've tried Plone, you must have noticed that it too installs
    itself nicely, or at least it did when I last tried it out on a
    proprietary operating system with no development tools of its own. This
    observation somewhat undermines your assertion that the vanilla Python
    language runtime should be bundled with the kitchen sink in order to
    compete with the most hyped solution of the day. Indeed, I'd suggest
    Zope and Plone as fairly interesting choices for those people wanting
    to dabble with a self-contained Web solution but who don't want to
    start choosing from a long list of technologies.

    Paul
     
    Paul Boddie, Aug 7, 2005
    #4
  5. Paul Rubin

    Roy Smith Guest

    "Paul Boddie" <> wrote:
    > Perl had the "cool tool" buzz a good ten years ago.


    That's true, but I think it understates just how important a development
    Perl really was.

    Before Perl, unix scripting consisted of awk, sed, grep, tr, a random
    assortment of incompatible shells, and lots of duct tape. For all of its
    faults, there is no doubt that Perl was a huge improvement over that mess.
    Much of the uglyness in Perl's syntax was a deliberate attempt to be
    backwards compatable with both awk and shell, which contributed to its
    quick uptake by the Unix sysadmin community.

    The next thing that drove its popularity is that it was quickly ported to
    run on DOS/Windows. If there was a community even more in need of a better
    toolkit than the early Unix sysadmins, the DOS/Windows world was it.

    Compared to what existed at the time, in both the Unix and DOS/Windows
    world, it was the best tool available at the time. No question about it.
    Perl also had (AFAICT) a three-year head start on Python. That's a lot of
    momentum to overcome.

    The fact that 15+ years of experience has shown that there are better ways
    to do things, should not in any way take away from Perl's importance. Perl
    got where it is because it filled a huge need, not just because it got good
    buzz.
     
    Roy Smith, Aug 7, 2005
    #5
  6. Kay Schluehr wrote:
    > Eric Pederson wrote:
    >
    >>Raise your hand if you think the best technology wins!

    >
    >
    > Who is interested in such a matter? Is this a forum dedicated to some
    > programming language or a popularity contest?
    >
    > If Python dies in a few years / looses attention but the Python Zen
    > survives in another language I have nothing to complain.
    >

    <cut>
    Ave!
    Although I think that the day that python is considerd dead is the same
    day that unix is truly dead.
    Ooh yes and I have heard for over two decades that unix-like systems are
    obsolete, so why is the install base only growing and has never been bigger?

    --
    mph
     
    Martin P. Hellwig, Aug 7, 2005
    #6
  7. Paul Rubin

    Paul Rubin Guest

    "Paul Boddie" <> writes:
    > > Why do web scripters still cling to their Perl, even in corporate
    > > environments?

    >
    > Ignorance. One could argue that Python should be promoted more, but
    > Perl had the "cool tool" buzz a good ten years ago. Such habits don't
    > fade away very quickly.


    I don't think it's ignorance. Some people really do like Perl better
    than Python. I can sort of understand why, even though I don't feel
    that way myself.

    > > Why hasn't Python made inroads against Java?

    >
    > I would guess that most people deploying Java want to be able to buy
    > and deploy some big name product with the pretense that they can always
    > switch to another big name product later on, all in the name of
    > "multiple vendor support".


    Come on, this is silly, Java is a lot more cumbersome for doing small,
    quick projects, but Python doesn't have the language discipline or the
    library support to do heavyweight projects that Java can. There is
    nothing like JSSE in Python. There is no JDBC replacement unless you
    get a third party module from somewhere. There is no MQ. CPython
    doesn't support multiprocessing (multiple threads on parallel
    processors, due to the GIL). Python's documentation is full of holes.
    Python's runtime library is full of holes. Almost every time I use a
    Python module that I haven't used before, I find bugs. Java is
    tastelessly designed and clumsy, but its language spec is very
    thorough and its implementation (including libraries) is complete and
    well-documented. Python is great for recreational projects and
    prototyping. It's not yet mature enough for deploying complex,
    critical applications, though maybe it's getting there (PyPy will be
    an important step).

    I'm not trying to bash Python--I know how hard it is to write and
    maintain a complex system that doesn't have gaps. And the Python
    developers did some very nice work with rather limited resources. But
    the magnitude of sheer grunt power that went into Java just completely
    overwhelms what went into Python.

    > > Why is Ruby, and Ruby on Rails, getting such strong play?

    > Relentless hype from blogging celebrities?


    That's an interesting explanation and might be true for all I know.
    But it does look like RoR has capabilities that Python (out of the
    box) doesn't.

    > > Applications like Zope and Plone help drive more people toward the
    > > language, though the competition is stiff.

    >
    > If you've tried Plone, you must have noticed that it too installs
    > itself nicely,


    I looked at Zope a little bit and didn't find it attractive. Plone
    sounds more interesting and I hope to check it out sooner or later.
     
    Paul Rubin, Aug 7, 2005
    #7
  8. Paul Rubin

    Brian Beck Guest

    Eric Pederson wrote:
    > Raise your hand if you think the best technology wins!
    >
    >
    > For those of you with your hands in the air, tell me: if Python is so good, why has PHP achieved such greater adoption and mindshare? Why do web scripters still cling to their Perl, even in corporate environments? Why hasn't Python made inroads against Java? Why is Ruby, and Ruby on Rails, getting such strong play?
    >
    > Are these better programming languages, or is it other factors?


    You make some good points and I agree that more needs to be done to make
    python accessible, but you basically ruined the rest of your post right
    off the bat. Replace Python with, say, Linux and PHP with, say, Windows.
    How the respective technologies got where they are today is not
    important to the analogy (except maybe being in the right place at the
    right time). There is such a huge counter-example of "the best
    technology wins" staring everyone in the face every day, that the first
    part of your post doesn't really do anything for me.

    But ultimately I am on your side. Python has a long way to go, and it
    has nothing to do with the language design...


    --
    Brian Beck
    Adventurer of the First Order
     
    Brian Beck, Aug 7, 2005
    #8
  9. Paul Rubin

    Paul Boddie Guest

    Paul Rubin wrote:
    > Come on, this is silly, Java is a lot more cumbersome for doing small,
    > quick projects, but Python doesn't have the language discipline or the
    > library support to do heavyweight projects that Java can.


    I'm not necessarily arguing that Python goes all the way up to the
    upper echelons of enterprise application development, but there seem to
    be a lot of people grabbing the chainsaw in order to snap a twig, and
    then justifying that choice by mentioning all the chainsaw vendors by
    name.

    > There is nothing like JSSE in Python. There is no JDBC replacement unless you
    > get a third party module from somewhere. There is no MQ.


    I won't doubt that there are pieces missing, although JDBC is something
    of a red herring, given that Python does have a half-decent API
    standard for database access and that you still need JDBC drivers (cf.
    third party modules) to connect to actual database systems.

    What I've argued for all along, in contrast to the endless advocacy of
    language microfeatures that save ten seconds of typing in an average
    working day, is increased attention to library support for actual
    applications and solutions. So I don't disagree with everything you're
    saying here. ;-)

    [...]

    > Python is great for recreational projects and prototyping. It's not yet mature
    > enough for deploying complex, critical applications, though maybe it's getting there
    > (PyPy will be an important step).


    I'd be interested to hear an amplification of the last statement.

    Paul
     
    Paul Boddie, Aug 7, 2005
    #9
  10. Paul Rubin

    Kay Schluehr Guest

    Martin P. Hellwig wrote:
    > Kay Schluehr wrote:
    > > Eric Pederson wrote:
    > >
    > >>Raise your hand if you think the best technology wins!

    > >
    > >
    > > Who is interested in such a matter? Is this a forum dedicated to some
    > > programming language or a popularity contest?
    > >
    > > If Python dies in a few years / looses attention but the Python Zen
    > > survives in another language I have nothing to complain.
    > >

    > <cut>
    > Ave!
    > Although I think that the day that python is considerd dead is the same
    > day that unix is truly dead.
    > Ooh yes and I have heard for over two decades that unix-like systems are
    > obsolete, so why is the install base only growing and has never been bigger?
    >
    > --
    > mph


    Of course "dead" has no absolute meaning for things that were never
    alive.

    May "infertile" be a better characterisation? If no new projects were
    started using a certain language the language ( more precisely it's
    runtime/libraries ) might become legacy and will be replaced
    continously.

    When the PyPy runtime becomes more mature and it's API somehow stable
    we might see what is possible in the dynamic language area beyond the
    current state of Python and also beyond Guidos projected Python3000. I
    guess it will sprawl into several dialects pronouncing different
    aspects: functional programming, concurrency, declarative programming a
    mainline Python3000 and a legacy Python 2.X which remains to be
    maintained.

    Thinking about this prospects I don't actually believe that
    Ruby-on-Rails will become a Python killer, just because it has a nice
    installer.

    Kay
     
    Kay Schluehr, Aug 7, 2005
    #10
  11. Paul Rubin

    Cliff Wells Guest

    On Sun, 2005-08-07 at 06:55 -0700, Paul Boddie wrote:
    > Eric Pederson wrote:
    > > Why is Ruby, and Ruby on Rails, getting such strong play?

    >
    > Relentless hype from blogging celebrities?


    This is certainly part of it, but I feel it ignores the much deeper
    reasons which are the root of this hype. I recently went to FOSCON (a
    free seminar coinciding with OSCON put on by the local Ruby UG here in
    Portland) and listened to a few presentations on Ruby and Rails by David
    Hansson (the creator of Rails) and others. By the end it was clear that
    Ruby is wonderfully suited to writing domain-specific languages (DSL)
    and that Rails is an excellent example of a DSL geared toward writing
    database-driven web applications. A friend of mine is writing a book on
    Rails for a large publisher and admitted to me that he barely knows Ruby
    (and has used Rails for only around six months).

    The second presentation (I don't recall the speaker's name) specifically
    covered metaprogramming (writing DSLs) and one of the things I found
    interesting was that despite Ruby having far more syntax than Python in
    general, the resulting Ruby-based DSLs presented had far *less* syntax
    than had they been written in Python. This is undoubtedly the reason
    why Rails is apparently completely usable even if one knows very little
    Ruby.

    Regards,
    Cliff

    --

    http://www.develix.com :: Web applications and hosting :: Linux, PostgreSQL and Python specialists ::
     
    Cliff Wells, Aug 8, 2005
    #11
  12. Eric Pederson wrote:
    > Raise your hand if you think the best technology wins!
    >


    Those who have raised hands should google for "worse is better"...

    --
    bruno desthuilliers
    python -c "print '@'.join(['.'.join([w[::-1] for w in p.split('.')]) for
    p in ''.split('@')])"
     
    bruno modulix, Aug 8, 2005
    #12
  13. Paul Rubin

    Paul Rubin Guest

    Cliff Wells <> writes:
    > The second presentation (I don't recall the speaker's name) specifically
    > covered metaprogramming (writing DSLs) and one of the things I found
    > interesting was that despite Ruby having far more syntax than Python in
    > general, the resulting Ruby-based DSLs presented had far *less* syntax
    > than had they been written in Python. This is undoubtedly the reason
    > why Rails is apparently completely usable even if one knows very little
    > Ruby.


    Interesting. But if we can generalize from that, then Lisp should be
    ruling the web.
     
    Paul Rubin, Aug 8, 2005
    #13
  14. Paul Rubin

    Cliff Wells Guest

    On Mon, 2005-08-08 at 10:10 -0700, Paul Rubin wrote:
    > Cliff Wells <> writes:
    > > The second presentation (I don't recall the speaker's name) specifically
    > > covered metaprogramming (writing DSLs) and one of the things I found
    > > interesting was that despite Ruby having far more syntax than Python in
    > > general, the resulting Ruby-based DSLs presented had far *less* syntax
    > > than had they been written in Python. This is undoubtedly the reason
    > > why Rails is apparently completely usable even if one knows very little
    > > Ruby.

    >
    > Interesting. But if we can generalize from that, then Lisp should be
    > ruling the web.


    Well, that is perhaps the other key feature: the Ruby/Rails community
    seems pretty friendly and eager to help people jump to their side of the
    fence (much like the Python community, btw), whereas Lisp community is
    an oxymoron.

    Regards,
    Cliff

    --

    http://www.develix.com :: Web applications and hosting :: Linux, PostgreSQL and Python specialists ::
     
    Cliff Wells, Aug 9, 2005
    #14
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