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December 23, 2005

Google gives a Xmas present to Python lovers Nice Xmas present to computer programmers everywhere: Guido van Rossum, otherwise known as the Benevolent Dictator for Life of Python has been hired by Google (anyone needs a link for it?). Whereas programmers hired by Google get 1 day a week to work on their "pet projects", GvR will apparently work 50% on Python and 100% with Python.

You may want to have a look at posts by Greg Stein in the comp.lang.python thread to find more details about this. The exact url was too long for MonkeyFilter. Python is arguably the easiest programming language to learn, favoured by many in the Open Source movement, and yet powerful enough to be used by many very smart programmers, including some at Google itself.

And they snagged Alex Martelli too?! As someone who has the luxury of programming in Python and getting paid for it, this is great news!

I think someone else said it in the link, but google will be lucky to have him. It'll be interesting to see what, if any, influence van Rossum will have on google's network of webgadgets.

I'm curious as to why this is good news to programmers. I'm not trolling (really!), I just want to know why everyone is all about LAMP (I'm a j2EE developer). As a contractor/consultant I'm interested in finding out if this is something I need to learn.

1)Most of the pushback I see is in terms of large companies. They usually have unknowledgeable, unskilled, cowerdly managers/VPs. If there isn't a service contract, they won't bite. J2EE platforms will sell you a service contract. Are there any LAMP companies that will?

2)I usually determine if a technology is something I should take my time to learn by how many contracting opportunities are available. I haven't been paying attention to LAMP. Are there contracts out there that are worth the time? How long? Can you squeeze more than $50/hr our of them?

3)Database driven web applications were a pretty big source of income during the late 90's early 00's. I think there's way too many players in this field now (perl,php,ruby on rails,.net/asp, all frameworks under j2ee, etc...) so the margin is going to drop. I'm more focused on tying back end systems together and giving a web front end where necessary (SOA/ESB, high traffic). Many J2EE projects are being developed for this. Does LAMP offer libraries or frameworks for this type of development? Is it able to handle these types of situations?

I'm curious as to why this is good news to programmers.

I don't think it is. But I would agree that it is good news for Python programmers :) I say, use what you know will get the job done. Play with other languages to learn and have fun.

Python is a good language, but for me, there are probably about 6 or so other languages I'd prefer to use first. But if there's a paycheck in it, I'll even program in Brainfuck.

But if there's a paycheck in it, I'll even program in Brainfuck.

Codewhore, thy name is un-.

I'm playing with my Python at the moment (there, I said it!), mostly because I want to be able to write GUI apps that will run entirely off my USB flash drive, and since Movable Python exists, it seemed like an interesting language to investigate.

I toyed with Ruby for a couple of weeks as well, and while I know it's becoming very popular, I decided I didn't like the syntax enough to take it seriously longterm.

Personally, I prefer Ruby syntax over Python, as my code is shorter, and to me, easier to read. Depending on what you are doing, though, Python will probably be a little faster, and it offers more "stuff". There is no "one perfect language", unless you count Ocaml, which is almost perfect :)

I doubt there's anything wrong with Ruby syntax at all, it's just that I'm coming from a PHP background and for some reason I'm finding it easier to pick up Python than Ruby (although I wish both Python and Ruby (and I may be showing my ignorance about Ruby, but I know I'm not about Python) would take a leaf from PHP's book about arrays. Python's dictionary / list / tuple thing, with different methods and rules for each, is annoying by comparison to PHP's array methods. (And, yes, I know there are probably many, many things that significantly annoy Python / Ruby developers about PHP's syntax).

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