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The Zen of Python
A Conversation with Bruce Eckel, Part II
by Bill Venners
Jun 23, 2003

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Code versus Thought Experiment

Bill Venners: The sixth reason you gave in your keynote for loving Python was, "I don't wait forever for a full implementation of the language." What did you mean by that?

Bruce Eckel: I was talking about C++ there, still smarting from, Gee, did Microsoft ever implement C++ fully? Java was a great relief over C++ in that department. A new version of Java would come along, and all the features would be there. Whereas in C++ we would say, "Let's think about how templates work," and years later we would get a template implementation, and maybe not then. Only in the last year or two have we seen truly full implementations of templates and the language in general. That was just incredibly frustrating. With Python, the language features are actually tried out live. They'll decide they're interested in trying out certain features. They'll do a fork of Python, put the features in, and see how it flies. That's a much nicer way to design a language than by thought experiment, as we basically did with C++.

Next Week

Come back Monday, June 30 for Part III of a conversation with Elliotte Rusty Harold. I am now staggering the publication of several interviews at once, to give the reader variety. The next installment of this interview with Bruce Eckel will appear in the near future. If you'd like to receive a brief weekly email announcing new articles at, please subscribe to the Artima Newsletter.

Talk Back!

Have an opinion about productivity versus performance, protecting programmers from themselves, or language learning curves? Discuss this article in the News & Ideas Forum topic, The Zen of Python.


Bruce Eckel's Mindview, Inc.:

Bruce Eckel's essay on checked exceptions: Does Java Need Checked Exceptions?:

Bruce Eckel's Public and In-House Seminars:

Bruce Eckel's Weblog:, the Python Language Website:

Introductory Material on Python:

Python Tutorial:

Python FAQ Wizard:

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