Re: Python is fun (useless social thread) ;-)

Discussion in 'Python' started by Carl Trachte, Jun 15, 2006.

  1. Carl Trachte

    Carl Trachte Guest

    ---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
    Subject: Re: Python is fun (useless social thread) ;-)
    From: "Carl Trachte" <>
    Date: Thu, June 15, 2006 8:21 am
    To:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    >
    > So out of curiosity, I'm just wondering how everyone else came to learn

    it. If you feel like responding, I'll ask my questions for easy quoting:
    >
    > Did you have to learn it for a job?


    Yes. I was a production geologist in a copper mine in the mid 90's. Our
    mine planning software vendor Mintec (www.mintec.com) had chosen it as
    their API for programmatic access to the three dimensional geologic block
    model and two dimensional polygons that defined geologic shapes on a level
    bench or in vertical cross section.

    >
    > Or did you just like what you saw and decided to learn it for fun?


    That too. I had been using Visual Basic. For what I was doing (mine
    engineering), there was just a lot more functionality available in Python
    and its external modules (numeric, for example). Organizing a lot of
    engineering data dumped as text is easier in Python than it is in VB
    (IMO), because of the way Python handles lists and dictionaries.

    >
    > Also, how did you go about learning it? (i.e., like I described above, I

    started with the main stuff then moved on to the different available
    frameworks)

    I started with Mintec's mine planning software API, then realized that a
    lot of stuff was easier in Python. VB was great for making GUI's quickly.
    Python (Tkinter) is harder because you have to code your windows
    (although once I got over that initial hump, it got a lot easier - there's
    decent documentation for Tkinter on the web, and it doesn't cost a
    thing!).

    My employer was good enough to send me to M. Lutz' 3 day course on Python
    in Colorado. This was helpful. Up until that time I had been coding VB
    in Python (a lot of it was "translating" code from one language to the
    other). After that course I started to think in Python and make better
    use of the features Python had (OO, exception handling, etc.).

    >
    > Was there any necessity in the specifics you learned, or did you just

    dabble in something (e.g. wxPython) for fun?

    As I mentioned with the Tkinter example above, there was almost always
    necessity. Fortunately the stuff we do necessitates a lot of different
    language features and modules. The datetime module was something I didn't
    know about until I bought the latest version of the Python cookbook. The
    thing is a huge productivity boost, especially for the stuff I do
    (daily/monthly/yearly production reports).

    >
    > Are there still some things you feel you need to learn or improve?


    Always. Always. Always. Extending to Fortran and C are things I'd like
    to accomplish. There is a lot of old, but useful Fortran code around. If
    you can marry it with Python instead of trying to rewrite it, that's a lot
    of coding time (and money) saved. There are accounts of this sort of
    thing out on the web, but I'm yet to accomplish it myself. Langtangen's
    scientific Python book offers a start. I've got a copy and have read
    through it, but I've got to work on some real examples before I have any
    success with it. I'm not there yet.

    >
    > Additional comments/complains here: :)


    Life's too short to use and enjoy everything Python's got to offer. :)

    > --
    > http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/python-list
    >



    -Carl Trachte
    Carl Trachte, Jun 15, 2006
    #1
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  2. Python is fun and useful (was: Python is fun (useless social thread) ;-))

    In article <>,
    Carl Trachte <> wrote:
    .
    .
    .
    >Yes. I was a production geologist in a copper mine in the mid 90's. Our
    >mine planning software vendor Mintec (www.mintec.com) had chosen it as
    >their API for programmatic access to the three dimensional geologic block
    >model and two dimensional polygons that defined geologic shapes on a level
    >bench or in vertical cross section.
    >
    >>
    >> Or did you just like what you saw and decided to learn it for fun?

    >
    >That too. I had been using Visual Basic. For what I was doing (mine
    >engineering), there was just a lot more functionality available in Python
    >and its external modules (numeric, for example). Organizing a lot of
    >engineering data dumped as text is easier in Python than it is in VB
    >(IMO), because of the way Python handles lists and dictionaries.
    >
    >>
    >> Also, how did you go about learning it? (i.e., like I described above, I

    >started with the main stuff then moved on to the different available
    >frameworks)
    >
    >I started with Mintec's mine planning software API, then realized that a
    >lot of stuff was easier in Python. VB was great for making GUI's quickly.
    > Python (Tkinter) is harder because you have to code your windows
    >(although once I got over that initial hump, it got a lot easier - there's
    >decent documentation for Tkinter on the web, and it doesn't cost a
    >thing!).
    >
    >My employer was good enough to send me to M. Lutz' 3 day course on Python
    >in Colorado. This was helpful. Up until that time I had been coding VB
    >in Python (a lot of it was "translating" code from one language to the
    >other). After that course I started to think in Python and make better
    >use of the features Python had (OO, exception handling, etc.).
    >
    >>
    >> Was there any necessity in the specifics you learned, or did you just

    >dabble in something (e.g. wxPython) for fun?
    >
    >As I mentioned with the Tkinter example above, there was almost always
    >necessity. Fortunately the stuff we do necessitates a lot of different
    >language features and modules. The datetime module was something I didn't
    >know about until I bought the latest version of the Python cookbook. The
    >thing is a huge productivity boost, especially for the stuff I do
    >(daily/monthly/yearly production reports).
    >
    >>
    >> Are there still some things you feel you need to learn or improve?

    >
    >Always. Always. Always. Extending to Fortran and C are things I'd like
    >to accomplish. There is a lot of old, but useful Fortran code around. If
    >you can marry it with Python instead of trying to rewrite it, that's a lot
    >of coding time (and money) saved. There are accounts of this sort of
    >thing out on the web, but I'm yet to accomplish it myself. Langtangen's
    >scientific Python book offers a start. I've got a copy and have read
    >through it, but I've got to work on some real examples before I have any
    >success with it. I'm not there yet.
    >
    >>
    >> Additional comments/complains here: :)

    >
    >Life's too short to use and enjoy everything Python's got to offer. :)

    .
    .
    .
    Indeed.

    Your testimony deserves particular attention, I think, because
    I believe the applicability of Python and related techniques to
    process control, engineering programming, and so on, is vastly
    under-appreciated. Conventional wisdom in these domains sees
    Visual Basic, Visual C++, and Fortran as suitable vehicles.
    You've seen how limiting this is.

    For reasons that I can elaborate at more length later, I'd love
    to diffuse awareness of Python's potential in mining and other
    "real-world" industries. The Agile Control Forum <URL:
    http://www.engcorp.com/acf/RecentChanges > is made for just
    such purposes. Although it's been rather quiet recently, that
    might change soon. It'd be great to have you tell your story
    in the ACF Wiki.
    Cameron Laird, Jun 25, 2006
    #2
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  3. Carl Trachte

    Jane & Carl Guest

    Re: Python is fun and useful (was: Python is fun (useless socialthread) ; -))

    > I believe the applicability of Python and related techniques to
    > process control, engineering programming, and so on, is vastly
    > under-appreciated. Conventional wisdom in these domains sees
    > Visual Basic, Visual C++, and Fortran as suitable vehicles.
    > You've seen how limiting this is.
    >
    > For reasons that I can elaborate at more length later, I'd love
    > to diffuse awareness of Python's potential in mining and other
    > "real-world" industries. The Agile Control Forum <URL:
    > http://www.engcorp.com/acf/RecentChanges > is made for just
    > such purposes. Although it's been rather quiet recently, that
    > might change soon. It'd be great to have you tell your story
    > in the ACF Wiki.
    > --
    > http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/python-list
    >


    Thanks! I'll have a look at the Agile Control Forum.

    I get some pushback sometimes for using Python instead of VBA/Excel at work.
    But my old department just sent two engineers for training with M. Lutz. So
    there's hope. All in all, I think Python is a pretty good choice for
    science, engineering, and process control. As you pointed out "coventional"
    wisdom sometimes doesn't have the last, or the correct word on things.

    Pythonistas of the engineering world, unite! (or something like that)
    Jane & Carl, Jun 26, 2006
    #3
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