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Choosing the right language

Why are there so many different computer languages? It's partly because there are many different types of things that need to be done in a programming environment and they require different mixes of facilities. And the addition of facility "x" which is really important for application "y" makes the provision of facility "a" that's important for application "b" impractical or rather tricky.

So, the question during the current course: "Why Python - what makes it different". Well ... here are some things that were relevant to my questioner:

* It's a SCRIPTING language that means no manual compile process, so it's great for codes that need changing frequently
* It's a STRAIGHTFORWARD language that's not overburdened with alternative facilities - removed complexity from the developer and maintainer
* It's OBJECT ORIENTED and that provides superb logic sharing capabilities between applications handing the same data types without naming conflicts
* It's a TRUSTING language that doesn't overburden you with the need to predeclare everything
* It's available CROSSPLATFORM - on the course, I have delegates on Mac, Windows and Linux platforms for example
* It's ROBUST and FORWARD COMPATIBLE and WELL SUPPORTED AND USED making it something you can rely on in the future.

"Compared to Perl" goes on my questioner. Now Perl may be the right language for many people because:

* It's a SCRIPTING language that means no manual compile process, so it's great for codes that need changing frequently
* It's a FULLFEATURED language that's got plenty of facilities and coding anything can be very fast indeed with all the range
* You can CHOOSE to write single block, structured or Object Oriented code meaning that it's suitable for small projects through to big systems.
* Perl assumes you KNOW what you're doing - leave things out and they get done for you. Makes for fast coding by the initiated.
* It's available CROSSPLATFORM.
* It's ROBUST and WELL SUPPORTED AND USED so you'll always have a good supply of programmers available
* It's being UPDATED to include modern facilities at the expense of old ones, meaning it's a language that will be around in 20 years!

Every force is balanced by an equal and opposite force, they say. And so it is that you can take many of the powerpointish bullets above and write an "opposite" statement that may turn people off the particular language. "It's full-featured" can also mean "there are so many ways of doing things that you'll end up with unreadable code written by contractors who are long since gone and is utterly unmaintainable unless you call them back in and pay them a fortune". Yes, I know that's a simplification but there's a seed of truth in there.

We offer Perl courses and Python courses and so we have a foot in both camps ... also PHP courses (PHP is a great language and often the best choice if you're writing a dynamic web site) and Tcl and Mysql ... every one of these is a great language for the right users ... otherwise I simply wouldn't include the subject in our public course listing.
(written 2006-03-01, updated 2006-06-09)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
H101 - Introduction to PHP
  [4621] The power of scripting - (2016-01-12)
  [4118] We not only teach PHP and Python - we teach good PHP and Python Practice! - (2013-06-18)
  [3025] Learning to Program ... in PHP. Course examples. - (2010-11-01)
  [2097] PHP Course - for hobby / club / charity users. - (2009-03-22)
  [1958] PHP - Parse error: syntax error, unexpected $end ... - (2008-12-23)
  [1753] Perl v PHP, choosing the right language - (2008-08-14)
  [1717] Q - Should I use Perl or Python? - (2008-07-23)
  [1198] From Web to Web 2 - (2007-05-21)
  [1050] The HTML++ Metalanguage - (2007-01-22)
  [949] Sludge off the mountain, and Python and PHP - (2006-11-27)
  [924] The LAMP Cookbook - Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP / Perl - (2006-11-13)
  [917] Syntax checking in PHP - (2006-11-07)
  [846] Is Perl being replaced by PHP and Python? - (2006-08-27)
  [795] Remember a site's non-technical issues too - (2006-07-07)
  [789] Hot answers in PHP - (2006-07-02)
  [712] Why reinvent the wheel - (2006-05-06)
  [691] Testing you Perl / PHP / MySQL / Tcl knowledge - (2006-04-19)
  [646] PHP - London course, Melksham Course, Evening course - (2006-03-14)
  [624] It's REALLY easy to add a little PHP - (2006-02-26)
  [577] Learning to program in Perl or PHP - (2006-01-26)
  [433] FTP - how to make the right transfers - (2005-09-01)
  [382] Central London Courses - Perl, PHP, Python, Tcl, MySQL - (2005-07-18)
  [380] Bridging to the customer requirement - (2005-07-16)
  [341] Happy Birthday, PHP - (2005-06-09)
  [317] Programming languages - a comparison - (2005-05-20)
  [135] Too many Perls - (2004-11-30)
  [132] Portrait of the author - (2004-11-27)
  [124] PHP v Java - (2004-11-20)
  [93] Case Sensitive? - (2004-10-19)
  [55] Evening classes to learn PHP - (2004-09-19)
  [48] PHP - onwards and upwards - (2004-09-14)

P201 - Perl - Introduction
  [2832] Are you learning Perl? Some more examples for you! - (2010-06-27)
  [2812] What is Perl? - (2010-06-15)
  [2070] Converting to Perl - the sort of programs you will write - (2009-03-08)
  [1852] Perl and Blackberries - (2008-10-23)
  [743] How to debug a Perl program - (2006-06-04)
  [604] Perl - multiprocess applications - (2006-02-13)
  [594] Twice is a co-incidence and three times is a pattern - (2006-02-07)
  [25] Release numbers - (2004-08-23)

Y101 - Introduction to Python
  [4590] Progress on moving from Python 2 to Python 3 - training for both versions - (2015-12-01)
  [4298] Python - an interesting application - (2014-09-18)
  [1663] Python in an afternoon - a lecture for experienced programmers - (2008-06-01)
  [1375] Python v Ruby - (2007-10-02)
  [950] Python and the Magic Roundabout - (2006-11-27)
  [909] Python is like a narrowboat - (2006-10-30)
  [834] Python makes University Challenge - (2006-08-15)
  [753] Python 3000 - the next generation - (2006-06-09)
  [745] Python modules. The distribution, The Cheese Shop and the Vaults of Parnassus. - (2006-06-05)
  [710] Linux training Glasgow, Python programming course Dundee - (2006-05-05)
  [444] Database or Progamming - which to learn first? - (2005-09-13)


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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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