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I think I am Python Challenged
by Gregg Wonderly
June 6, 2005
The Python Challenge recently caught my attention and I thought I'd look at it to see what was up. I'm not sure I caught on to the reasoning behind it, but I still played with it, for a while...


The Python challenge caught my attention. I don't use python, and so I haven't really learned it. I am still not warm toward the indentation based block designations, but that's another issue for another time.

What I did with the Python challenge was try and solve the puzzles without python. It turned out to be pretty easy to do the first 4 or 5 with bourne shell command line tools such as tr(1), sed(1), awk(1) and grep(1). BTW, if you are a grep(1) fan, you should check out Bill Tannenbaum's cgrep tool. It is typically 1 to 2 orders of magnitude (10 to 100 times) faster than any other grep I've ever seen. Try it on really huge files (10M or larger) and see what you think.

I've blogged before about how many of these dynamic languages aren't providing any new tools, just recasting old things in new ways. Now, I am a proponent of recasting APIs to speak the language of a problem domain so that you can easily solve the problem and so that people reading the code can follow easily.

I'm just still looking at python and asking why. If you have a favorite language feature of python, that is not available in Java, nor expressable in Java, or the .NET/CLR languages, post it here to help me see what you are appreciating. I'm aware of many of the features of python only casually from seeing them in on line discussions. So, please, enlighten me.

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About the Blogger

Gregg Wonderly graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1988 with an MS in COMSCI. His areas of concentration include Operating Systems and Languages. His first job was at the AT&T Bell Labs facilities in Naperville IL working on software retrofit for the 5ESS switch. He designed a procedure control language in the era of the development of Java with similar motivations that the Oak and then Java language development was driven by. Language design is still at the top of his list, but his focus tends to be on application languges layered on top of programming languages such as Java. Some just consider this API design, but there really is more to it! Gregg now works for Cyte Technologies Inc., where he does software engineering and design related to distributed systems in highly available environments.

This weblog entry is Copyright © 2005 Gregg Wonderly. All rights reserved.

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