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Marketing Python - An Idea Whose Time Has Come

117 replies on 8 pages. Most recent reply: Jun 15, 2007 5:29 AM by Ian Ozsvald

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Red Gem

Posts: 3
Nickname: redgem
Registered: Dec, 2005

Re: Marketing Python - An Idea Whose Time Has Come Posted: Mar 4, 2006 2:13 PM
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This continued obsession with Ruby (on Rails) amongst "major bloggers" is destructive

Not for Ruby ;-)

The point about marketing to developers is quite valid: developers do defy managers and use tools of their own choosing

Quite right. And these days the managers are often telling developers that the official tool is Python. So we have to be a bit sneaky to use Ruby. (More often Ruby is sneaking into Perl-mandated shops, though). My point is that it's too late: Python is already viewed as the 'old' entrenched tool by many developers. The same thing will start to happen to Ruby in a few years when people start sneaking in Io. The cycle will continue...

As someone said, Python is everywhere.

Quite true, I don't know what you guys are so worried about.

Red Gem

Posts: 3
Nickname: redgem
Registered: Dec, 2005

Re: Marketing Python - An Idea Whose Time Has Come Posted: Mar 4, 2006 2:26 PM
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It would be a real mistake to say there's only one true way. There are simply too many different types of web development to say that one solution will cover them all. The only reason Rails is "the way" in Ruby is that the user base is so much smaller that it only produced one viable solution.

Oh, puleese...
There's at least a hundred of us Ruby users out there in the world, I mean, come on, you're acting like there's only like 10 of us or something ;-)

Actually, there's at least one other Ruby web-programming framework out there called Nitro (http://www.nitrohq.com/) that some Ruby-people prefer over Rails.

I must say, this whole thread is quite entertaining. All the hand-wringing and angst. All those negative generalizations about Ruby. It's funny we used to have similar threads on comp.lang.ruby a couple of years ago, they usually went something like: "Ruby doesn't have a web-presence like Python does with Plone and Zope... what should we do?" And then DHH comes along and builds Rails. What a difference 18 months makes, eh?

My advice for you Pythonistas: First, chill; the mind works better when relaxed. Second, look around and count your blessings; Python is everywhere. Third, just work on something you find interesting and fun.

Stani M

Posts: 1
Nickname: stani
Registered: Mar, 2006

Re: go mobile Posted: Mar 4, 2006 3:00 PM
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> Another area of opportunity that has received a fair
> amount of attention recently is that of IDE's. It has
> become apparent to many that there are no really
> good
IDEs for any of the current crop of
> dynamically typed languages.

Hmmm... Maybe there is another point: the python community might not yet have found a better way to work more effectively to work together (e.g. web frameworks, IDE's, ...) I don't know enough about web frameworks, but I do know a little bit about IDE's as the author of SPE (http://pythonide.stani.be).

Looking at IDE's I can have three observations:

1. For some reasons numerous users prefer to use an open source IDE.

2. For some reasons numerous python programmers like to develop their own open source IDE.

3. For some reasons the open source python IDE developers are not collaborating at all.


The reasons for 1 or 2 are obvious, at least to me. Recently I have been wondering about the reason for 3. (Probably a lot of python programmers have wondered about this already for ages, but ok I might be slow ;-) I came to the conclusion that there was *NO* reason.

As this was so clear, I started to invite all the authors of IDE's personally to collaborate all together. (I hope that I didn't forget any, because there are so many.) What is really nice, is that we feel the same: we should work together and share as much as possible. We don't want to waste our (often spare) time on reinventing wheels. Almost all IDE's (except of two) are participating no matter if they use Tkinter, wxPython, pyQT, Cocoa, pyGTK, ... So this could open doors for an ajax python editor, who knows. (Any python web framework interested in that?) Oops, IDLE is the only one which didn't answer my invitation yet, but I'd love them to be in the team as well.

I'm putting a last hand on a wiki site with mailing list. I will announce very soon it on the comp.lang.python mailing list. Stay tuned, as we might need the help of the community to let it succeed! Everybody has his dreams about his IDE, but we'll need people willing to code. (IDE users are de facto developers.) Luckily a lot of know-how will be there already.

Instead of taking an easy way by asking Guido for a decision, we could better operate as a community. (Most dictators wants to keep their people stupid, but I think Guido doesn't.) I hope this multiple IDE's collaboration is not to ambitious and it will succeed. If it does, it might be an example for other fragmented areas in the python landscape.

For example about Django, Turbogears, ... If such a choice has to be made, I think it's not up to Guido, but to the developers of these frameworks to collaborate. You can be sure if their communities start asking as a whole for more collaboration, that they will listen.

I'm not pleading for communism with only one application or framework in every area. It is not about unification, but about a little bit more collaboration. There are always libraries to share, more as we might think.

One of the most challenging tasks for the IDE will be an extensible, lazy application framework with plugins. Look at Chandler, Zope, PEAK, Envisage (Enthought), ... grrr they are all creating their own. While in the hallways of PyCon they admit they should work together, nothing yet has started...

Bruce Eckel

Posts: 868
Nickname: beckel
Registered: Jun, 2003

Re: Marketing Python - An Idea Whose Time Has Come Posted: Mar 4, 2006 3:07 PM
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I created a weblog posting in response to this discussion:
http://www.artima.com/weblogs/viewpost.jsp?thread=150834

Jules Jacobs

Posts: 119
Nickname: jules2
Registered: Mar, 2006

Re: Marketing Python - An Idea Whose Time Has Come Posted: Mar 4, 2006 5:26 PM
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Hardcore edition:

puts [proc{|x|x},proc{|x|x**2},proc{|x|x**3}].select{|f|f[-1]>=f[1]}.map{|f|(-10. .11).map{|x|[x,f[x]]}}

;-).

The thing python needs is the marketing of Rails. It is really well marketed as "the next big thing". (which it probably is because of its marketing).

Joao Pedrosa

Posts: 114
Nickname: dewd
Registered: Dec, 2005

Re: Marketing Python - An Idea Whose Time Has Come Posted: Mar 4, 2006 5:38 PM
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Innovation in Ruby:

Mongrel HTTP Server - http://mongrel.rubyforge.org/


BTW, I just saw that Django has a BSD licence. Django seems to be _the_ current answer to Rails from the Python community. Maybe some folks could work on Django 2.0 and make if even better. :-)

D H

Posts: 13
Nickname: dug
Registered: Jul, 2003

Re: Marketing Python - An Idea Whose Time Has Come Posted: Mar 4, 2006 7:13 PM
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Steve Yegge's already covered the subject matter of python, community, and marketing very eloquently.
http://www.oreillynet.com/ruby/blog/2006/01/a_little_antiantihype.html
http://www.oreillynet.com/ruby/blog/2006/01/bambi_meets_godzilla.html

Paul Boddie

Posts: 26
Nickname: pboddie
Registered: Jan, 2006

Re: Marketing Python - An Idea Whose Time Has Come Posted: Mar 4, 2006 8:38 PM
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> Steve Yegge's already covered the subject matter of
> python, community, and marketing very eloquently.

Well, there have been some pretty unnecessary put-downs on comp.lang.python of late (the community aspect of the above), but I can't help feeling that the cited commentaries merely trade on fairly contentious observations and remarks, as is usually the case with oft-cited bloggers, whilst providing limited insight. For example, "Perl beat Python" - really? Right now, Perl's the language with no roadmap, pretty much relegated to legacy status in a lot of environments; Python is, for example, the dynamic language of choice in many Linux/UNIX distributions and for a lot of the Free Software desktop (although I'd like to see more use of it there) - all on Perl's "home turf".

Of course, languages like Ruby are going to appeal to certain kinds of hackers because in many ways they're in flux in a way that Python isn't. Sure, Python keeps getting new stuff (and in many respects I which it wouldn't, and would instead get improved/cleaned up standard libraries or a better runtime), but it isn't like Ruby which will have to get a "more mainstream" virtual machine architecture and support for stuff like Unicode before people will start fighting off arbitrary improvements and enhancements to the language. At which point, the bandwagon surfers may well be off to another language or technology to hype that instead.

Devan Lai

Posts: 1
Nickname: devanl
Registered: Jan, 2006

Re: Marketing Python - An Idea Whose Time Has Come Posted: Mar 4, 2006 11:00 PM
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Mike Meyer and I independently made two different trypythons. His is a lot cooler (AJAT) and fails more gracefully when it can't store anything, whereas mine just kills your session and gives you a new one. Anyways, I've improved mine a bit and importing works correctly. Still no new-style classes though.

Mine's at www.datamech.com/devan/trypython/trypython.py and his is at mired.org/home/mwm/try_python/ .

John Gabriele

Posts: 3
Nickname: johnmg
Registered: Mar, 2006

Re: Marketing Python - An Idea Whose Time Has Come Posted: Mar 4, 2006 11:32 PM
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Re: Marketing Python - An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Josh Gilbert wrote:
> I had been using Perl for a few years and had become
> accustomed to the style of the community and the
> quality of the books. Python doesn't have anything
> like the Camel book, that came as a surprise.

The Perl trinity: the Camel book, the Ram book, and the Llama.
They've got their printed docs together. No doubt about it. But even
better, they've got perldoc.

My best guess is that Perl succeeds, *despite* being a difficult
language to deal with, precisely because of its perldocs. The
perldocs *kick butt*. IMO, we need that for Python.

I think one of the biggest shots in the arm we could give Python
would be to give it something like perldoc, so I we document our
modules with something a little more expressive than simple docstrings.
I really like Python, but my impression of the pydocs that I get
from running help( foo.bar ) are usually pretty anemic. Contrast that
with the numerous and high quality perldocs available (run
"perldoc perl" to see what I mean). And those perldocs are, of course,
far more than just api docs -- there's all sorts of examples and
tutorials available for perlers right at their fingertips.

My advice:
*That's* what Python needs. Please provide a way for us to write
Python "perldocs" just like that. Keep it simple and non-pretentious (no
large doc frameworks required, just some way to make manpage-style text
and html from special comments in the source file) so good documentation
authors will use it. Improve the pydoc command to be able to understand
the new markup ("pydoc-markup") and display the embedded docs along with
the docstrings. (Docstrings used for API docs, pydoc-markup for the
tutorial and descriptive stuff).

Make this a standard built-in part of Python ASAP. Later we
can figure out some way to choose the really useful Python perldocs
to make it into the official Python distribution, little by little.
Keeping it simple will help get it together and into the language as
quickly as possible so the community can start the process of writing
all those useful pyperldocs.

Put the tools in place, and the really good docs will come. Then more
users will come.

My own very brief notes on documenting Python:
http://www.simisen.com/jmg/python/python_docs.html

BTW, regarding this talk about "marketing" Python, personally I think the
only folks we need to market Python to are the folks who'll be using it:
developers. Make Python so useful to me that I simply can't afford not to
use it. Then, if necessary, <b>I'll</b> convince my boss (or my clients) of
the same.

Finally, of course, ruthlessly removing any and all cruft from the
language is always very much appreciated. :)

Andre Roberge wrote:
> There are plenty of folks out there that use Python as a glue language for
> numerical work (just to pick an example at random)

[ba-dum ching!] Nice pun. :)

Jules Jacobs

Posts: 119
Nickname: jules2
Registered: Mar, 2006

Re: Marketing Python - An Idea Whose Time Has Come Posted: Mar 5, 2006 8:15 AM
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The #2 example in Ruby:

def unique_words(lines)
Set.new lines.map(&:split).flatten
end

Ron Stephens

Posts: 4
Nickname: ursus
Registered: Mar, 2006

Re: Marketing Python - An Idea Whose Time Has Come Posted: Mar 5, 2006 11:28 AM
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I am an amateur Python hacker who just attended his first PyCon, which was great!

I am doing my very small part in promoting Python by doing a podcast to help folks learn Python and related subjects. It is called <a href="http://www.awaretek.com/python/index.html">Python411</a>, which gets about 2000 downloads per episode, mostly by rss subscription. I have received many emails from folks who say it has stimulated or re-stimulated their interest in Python and is helping them learn more about Python.

I hope to get guest podcasters who are expert on various topics so that the educational usefulness of the podcast series can expand beyond those topics that I personally am knowledgeable to discuss. The first guest podcast was just posted yesterday, by Bill Scherer on the Spread Module (thank you Bill!)

I surely would like to hear from other volunteer guest podcasters on any Pythonic subject. My email address is rdsteph@mac.com. A guest podcast can be recorded in either mp3 or ogg format (or anything else, I'll figure out a way to convert it to mp3).

Podcasting seems to be exploding in popularity right now; I am amazed at having 2000 subscribers, and many of them are enthusiastic. It is mainly aimed at learning the language, and I subscribe to the "Computer Programming for Everybody" mantra. So if you know of any folks on the verge of choosing a language, whether as a first language or as a next language, you might suggest they have a listen to <a href="http://www.awaretek.com/index.html">Python411</a>.

Ron Stephens

Ron Stephens

Posts: 4
Nickname: ursus
Registered: Mar, 2006

Re: Marketing Python - An Idea Whose Time Has Come Posted: Mar 5, 2006 11:32 AM
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Hmm, sorry, this is my first post here. The link to the Python411 podcast is http://www.awaretek.com/python/index.html

Lone Star

Posts: 7
Nickname: lonestar
Registered: Jan, 2006

Re: Marketing Python - An Idea Whose Time Has Come Posted: Mar 5, 2006 1:16 PM
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Great work!

> The link to the
> Python411 podcast is
> http://www.awaretek.com/python/index.html

Paddy McCarthy

Posts: 12
Nickname: paddy3118
Registered: Dec, 2005

Re: Marketing Python - An Idea Whose Time Has Come Posted: Mar 5, 2006 2:11 PM
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Jules2 wrote:
> The #2 example in Ruby:
>
> def unique_words(lines)
> Set.new lines.map(&:split).flatten
> end

I take it that your referring to:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctest

The unique_words function could indeed be a very small function, (2 lines in python). But the point of picking that particular example is that the function includes documentation in the doctument string delimeted by ''' ... ''' after the def line.
The string documents how to use the function by allowing you to cut and paste a session from the interactive prompt.
The doctest module scans document strings for what looks like an interactive shell session and replays it, checking the outputs are as given. If you changed the implementation, you could re-run the tests captured in the docstring.

The docstring is also a normal docstring so pydoc and help() can be used to show it.

The example also shows the use of the StringIO module that allows you to wrap a string so it looks like a file.

I wonder, how is that done in Ruby?

- Paddy.

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