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The Making of Python
A Conversation with Guido van Rossum, Part I
by Bill Venners
January 13, 2003

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Python creator Guido van Rossum talks with Bill Venners about Python's history, the influence of the ABC language, and Python's original design goals.

Guido van Rossum is the author of Python, an interpreted, interactive object-oriented programming language. In the late 1980s, Van Rossum began work on Python at the National Research Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science in the Netherlands, or Centrum voor Wiskunde en Informatica (CWI) as it is known in Dutch. Since then, Python has become very popular among developers, who are attracted to its clean syntax and reputation for productivity.

In this interview, which is being published in weekly installments, Van Rossum gives insights into Python's design goals, the source of Python programmer productivity, the implications of weak typing, and more. In this first installment, Van Rossum describes Python's history, major influences, and design goals.

Bill Venners: How would you describe Python to developers who have never used it?

Guido van Rossum: From one perspective you can say Python is a very high-level scripting language. From another perspective you can say it's a high-level programming language that happens to be implemented in a way that emphasizes interactivity. Python shares some characteristics with scripting languages, but also shares some characteristics with more traditional programming languages.

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