Python Notes

Monday, September 13, 2004

Why do I like Python

I believe that there are some things that you just can't take apart from the whole -- they're an integral part of the package. Code beauty and good behavior are strangely connected.

Python is a wonderful programming language. It is, for the lack of a better word, elegant. Programs written in Python tend to look good, and read nicely, even when the reader is a newbie. Much has been said about this before over the Python mailing list and on dozens of reviews. But that leads me to another reason, that's the wonderful community that participates on the mailing list.

For people used to other mailing lists or newsgroups, the Python list is a welcome exception. Apart from some occasional disputes, there are very little flame wars. The level of the conversation is polite. But it is not like some political-correctness devil had hipnotized the entire community into a sleepy state of cynic behavior. On the opposite, there are discussions -- plenty of, in fact. And newbiews are well-received and regarded. Posts that on other groups would be received with a barrage of RTFM-like replies are normally answered with care and attention to detail. It's not uncommon to have short programs implemented by experts for the sole sake of helping someone who asked for it in the group. The authors certainly are busy people, but they do take some time to help newbies. And why it is so?

The answer again lies in my primary reason to like Python. It's beautiful. And the group happens to entice the presence of people that loves to write beautiful code. So even a question from a newbie sparks some kind of healthy competitive mood; and you see experts discussing solutions and delivering code. At each round, someone would point out a few details from each other's implementation, and it would get refined to the point where it's nearing perfection: it's multiplatform, it can't be optimized anymore, and the best of all, it's still readable. Everyone seems to enjoy it (apart from a few occasional rants).

I believe that there are some things that you just can't take apart from the whole -- they're an integral part of the package. Code beauty and good behavior are strangely connected. A language that not only allow, but encourages the writing of beautiful code will attract better programmers. Because they care for their craft, not in a egocentric way; they like to write good, and useful, code. What good is beautiful, if it's not to be seen and used by other people? So they also care for other people, and it shows at c.l.py.

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