New Myths

30 December 2013

Why Python and I Just Can’t Get Along

I love the idea of Python – it’s a great language with a lot of interesting features and a strong, vibrant community.

And that’s also it’s biggest problem.  I spent the last two days writing some simply Python code to implement the board game Gobblet using Zulko’s easyAI framework.  It’s a great little framework and should be seriously considered by anyone writing games in Python.  It’s also writing for Python 2.X, not 3.X.

I recently set up a new laptop and installed updated versions of all the development languages that I use (well, except for Ruby – I know better than to go with a recent release there Winking smile). This means Python 3.3 is where I started.  Caveat: I’m not a Python pro by any stretch – I dabble from time to time, mostly when I see an interesting framework that catches my eye.  And thus began one day of version mismatch nightmare and about four hours of actual code.  This included having to rewrite some of the module infrastructure of easyAI, correct samples and institute a couple of hacks to make things usable. Coming from a Ruby background, I’m using to some degree of inter-version wonkiness, but this was a bit extreme.

Not being a part of the Python community, I thought Alex Gaynor’s recent post on Python, picked up on Hacker News, was both timely and interesting (and quite frankly, a bit relieving!). Fundamentally, I think Python struggles from a lack of clear direction about what it really wants to be.  Frameworks like Django have gone a long way towards providing some of that direction, but that type of direction really needs to happen at the core language level and needs to be planned.  There are so many types of incompatibility between Python 2 and 3 that it’s not particularly surprising that uptake of 3 has been so minimal.  While this is a serious enough issue for a programming language, there are different corollaries that should be drawn with enterprise systems/platforms.

01.05.2014 Update: A recent survey by yielded some interesting (if mixed) findings.

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