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Author Topic: Python Pros and Cons  (Read 9440 times)


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Python Pros and Cons
« on: September 28, 2009, 05:32:33 am »

Original post for Python Pros and Cons can be found at https://www.castledragmire.com/Posts/Python_Pros_and_Cons.
Originally posted on: 09/14/09

I am a bit disappointed in Python after this project for many reasons:
  • Windows support is lacking. The PyWin32 helps fill this gap, but it itself is missing many API calls, doesn’t support Unicode (from what I can find), and has next to no documentation (besides samples).
  • Starting with Python 2.6, executables are compiled differently and include manifests, which cause some major annoying (and quite undocumented) problems with DLLs that are very unintuitive to fix. I ended up including a manifest and DLL from the “windows/system32” directory in the distribution to fix this.
  • Interfacing with (C style) shared objects (Windows DLLs and probably Unix Shared Objects) is clunky, especially when structures are involved.
  • Documentation on many of the standard Python modules is very lacking. After having recently learned Perl, and dealing with its wonderful documentation, this is a bit disappointing. I might be missing something through, because Python is supposed to be able to naturally document itself through comments after function headers...
  • While inheritance and classes themselves are implemented well, I find the way JavaScript does classes (objects) much easier to work with and more robust. It’s great being able to access any object/class element as both a member “Object.MemberName” or an index “Object['MemberName']”. This also, I think, has a lot to do with the fact that Python is [dynamically] typed, which is wonderful. But from the way the language seems to work (I would need to do more testing), this kind of thing seems like it could easily be implemented. I really just don’t like how lists, dictionaries, and classes are so separated. It’s much more useful how both PHP and JavaScript combine them into one concept.
  • Even if the language is dynamically typed to help catch errors more naturally, there are other things in the language that can make errors harder to catch, like how variable lookup is done through the whole function stack instead of just at a global and local level.
  • I find the separation of tuples and lists unneeded. Perl does it more naturally, and in one concept, through dereferencing arrays into lists.

There are many great ideas and implementations in the language though that are wonderful to work with including:
  • Parameters can be passed, at the same time, through both named parameters and a list of parameters, and can then be retrieved as parameters, lists, and dictionaries.
  • Unicode support for [probably] all encodings is natively supported. Strings are very easy to work with, even as ASCII. The best part is Python3 (which I have not tinkered with yet) reportedly improved the implementations even more by separating strings into always-Unicode, and binary data (instead of thinking of it as ASCII).
  • As mentioned above, it is a [dynamically] typed language, which is great for larger projects.
  • Different number types (floats, ints, unsigned ints, large numbers, etc) work naturally together and extend as they need to. While this gives the language a hit on speed, it does make it very usable.