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Old 26th April 2009
drhowarddrfine drhowarddrfine is offline
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Default Great programmers answer a few questions

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Peter Norvig:

I dislike all three major OS - Windows, Mac, Linux.
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Old 27th April 2009
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Nice one.
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Old 27th April 2009
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If you notice, all of Peter Norvigs responses are short and to the point ;-)
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Old 27th April 2009
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I liked all the different answers to:
Quote:
What do you think makes some programmers 10 or 100 times more productive than others?
I work with a very large group of developers, and this topic/question comes up now and then.
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Old 27th April 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TerryP View Post
If you notice, all of Peter Norvigs responses are short and to the point ;-)
I liked his responses the best. Guido seemed kind of a**hole-ish at times.
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Old 27th April 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roddierod
Guido seemed kind of a**hole-ish at times.
I have yet to meet a Python-preferring programmer that wasn't a jerk (or 13 - *har har*). This isn't a blind stab of elitism at Python programmers; it has some tangible background. I was at a Linux conference and the only people who were all, "Python-this, and Python-that..." were - by far - the biggest jerks in the room.

Granted, you can do a lot, quickly, with Python, but objectively, I find it to be overly-easy. I could see it quite nice for something like Enterprise development where code clarity would be considered paramount, and it makes some things nice for quick, easy hacks, but a lack of decent, online documentation and the fact that I feel like a monkey with a keyboard when writing in it completely kills this language for me.

Last edited by indienick; 27th April 2009 at 07:03 PM.
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Old 27th April 2009
mwatkins mwatkins is offline
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I think Van Rossum's comments are par for the course; you have to imagine he gets asked these things a lot. Perhaps it's humour which works more in his native land? Or perhaps he just doesn't care how his answers compare with the rest. Or maybe after a lifetime of achievement at his age, he's come to appreciate that his children might be more important. Dunno.

To see how he really interacts with people you'd need to see how he deals with proposals to alter the language. The whole change process for Python is very civilized and Guido is at the core of that process. If he were a jerk, as you suppose, that wouldn't be the case at all.

In general I find the entire Python community very civilized. In fact if you were to ask me what language that gets lumped in with "scripting" is the jerkiest, I'd probably nominate Ruby!

Fanboys - mostly newbies I bet (just look at the herds of the single-language PHP newbies, mostly fanboys all) - kill all the fun for any language. Like most languages, certainly the popular ones - Python isn't immune, but the overall community is sound.

As for "overly easy", I'm not going to touch that one. I like getting the job done... which means I'd better get back to my job.

Last edited by mwatkins; 27th April 2009 at 07:39 PM.
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Old 28th April 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwatkins View Post
I think Van Rossum's comments are par for the course; you have to imagine he gets asked these things a lot. Perhaps it's humour which works more in his native land? Or perhaps he just doesn't care how his answers compare with the rest. Or maybe after a lifetime of achievement at his age, he's come to appreciate that his children might be more important. Dunno.

To see how he really interacts with people you'd need to see how he deals with proposals to alter the language. The whole change process for Python is very civilized and Guido is at the core of that process.
Well said!

Last edited by ephemera; 28th April 2009 at 08:06 AM.
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Old 28th April 2009
mwatkins mwatkins is offline
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Speaking of Ruby, I didn't mean to paint the language community itself with a bad brush, I really meant to identify the Rails sub-community of Ruby as a potential bad-example poster child.

While I have no personally-earned opinion on Rails and its community, it is hard not to read commentary from an insider like the following without making a note of it:

Quote:
April 28, 2009: But unfortunately for me, in parallel to the public discussion there have been private ones. I can’t reveal details without breaking confidences, but suffice it to say that a significant number of Rails core contributors - with leadership (if that’s the right word) from DHH - apparently feel that being unwelcoming and “edgy” is not just acceptable, but laudable. The difference between their opinions and mine is so severe that I cannot in good conscience remain a public spokesman for Rails.

So, effective immediately, I’m resigning my position with the Rails Activists. -- Mike Gunderloy
I didn't have to go looking for this quote, it was in my morning RSS feed.
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Old 28th April 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roddierod View Post
I liked his responses the best. Guido seemed kind of a**hole-ish at times.
Actually, I think Guido's answers made the most sense, they were short, to the point , funny, and I agree with most answers.
In fact, I probably would have given the same answer to many questions ... We even like the same music, scary!

As a sidenote, you should look up Guido's posts on the Python mailing lists, they are patient and explain things well, they even answer `noob questions', including the `stupid' ones.
Can we say the same about every prominent programmer? *cough* Theo *cough* Linus *cough*

Quote:
I have yet to meet a Python-preferring programmer that wasn't a jerk (or 13 - *har har*). This isn't a blind stab of elitism at Python programmers; it has some tangible background. I was at a Linux conference and the only people who were all, "Python-this, and Python-that..." were - by far - the biggest jerks in the room.

Granted, you can do a lot, quickly, with Python, but objectively, I find it to be overly-easy. I could see it quite nice for something like Enterprise development where code clarity would be considered paramount, and it makes some things nice for quick, easy hacks, but a lack of decent, online documentation and the fact that I feel like a monkey with a keyboard when writing in it completely kills this language for me.
As a python lover&programmer of sorts, I think Python it *at least* as powerful as similar languages such as Perl, Java, etc.
I don't understand why you ``Feel like a monkey with a keyboard'', I have quite the opposite feeling.
I had to do some PHP programming at work today, and I felt ``Like a monkey'' several times and was wishing for Python features such as list slicing, list comprehension, string formating, sane for loops (foreach sucks), sane arrays/list/dicst (Seriously, PHP arrays are braindead stupid), namespaces, and many many other things several times.

Python is very well designed, many features as described as a PEP before any code is written, unlike some other languages where features&code seem to be added almost randomly.

The documentation also works very well for me, docstrings are nice, and with dir() and help() you don't really need the on-line docs.
In addition, two very good books about python have been written by Mark Lutz.

Quote:
and it makes some things nice for quick, easy hacks
The *lack* of quick easy hacks is why I like Python! It is not like Perl or PHP where every language feature seems to be a quick easy hack.
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Old 29th April 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carpetsmoker View Post
As a sidenote, you should look up Guido's posts on the Python mailing lists, they are patient and explain things well, they even answer `noob questions', including the `stupid' ones.
I think this is why I was kind of taken back by some of his answers here.


Quote:
As a python lover&programmer of sorts...
I have to totally agree with your comments on python. Python brought the excitement of programming back for me. Every other language I program in now I always find myself saying I wish this had foo feature like python.
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Old 29th April 2009
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Carpetsmoker, roddierod, I hope I haven't offended either of you with my comments towards Python - it's just my, subjective, opinion on the language based on past experiences with the language and past experiences having to deal with Python zealots.

I wish to stipulate, though, that I do not think Python is all bad; I have done the odd bit of Python - here and there - that has left me going, "COOL!," but the language as a whole just simply does not appeal to me.

I have had this theory that people use programming languages that align to their ways of thinking - again, this is not meant to be an offensive comment. I admit that my ways of thinking, while somewhat structured, do tend to have those moments where duct tape is required (impulsive fixes with the first thing in reach), which is perhaps why I do most of my programming in Common Lisp; it allows this kind of work- and think-method, and it is easy to replace the "duct-tape" code with "proper" code.

@Carpetsmoker: I agree with you when it comes to PHP - I have just finished a tiny project for my work and I really hope I can manage to keep any PHP work to a minimum. Perl was the first language I learned, and it has its place as a parsing language, but PHP - given its roots - is just needlessly messy, IMO.

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Old 29th April 2009
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I didn't take any offense, I think the problem was you were talking to python people at a Linux conference, I have to think there would be alot of zealots of various types there

Funny, how you write about using Lisp and "proper" code instead of "duct-tape" code, that is how I work with python. Where I will "duct tape" the heck out C or C++
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Old 29th April 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indienick View Post
Perl was the first language I learned, and it has its place as a parsing language, but PHP - given its roots - is just needlessly messy, IMO.
When you consider PHPs history and user base, then look at what happened to HTML over the years, and considering PHPs roots, what makes you think it wouldn't be so 'needlessly messy' in the first place?

I would be shocked if it wasn't.... (But hey, there's always hope for PHP7 hehe)
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Old 29th April 2009
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Quote:
Carpetsmoker, roddierod, I hope I haven't offended either of you with my comments towards Python
Of course not, feel free to disagree.
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Old 6th May 2009
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Good read
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Old 7th May 2009
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Aaaahhhhh.........everything should be done in assembly.
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Old 7th May 2009
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Yes, because if we did everything in assembly, we'd probably all be still using gopher, FreeBSD wouldn't have SMP support yet, the dot.com boom would not have happened, "twitter" would be a funny sort of laugh, and Word Perfect might still be in business.
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Old 7th May 2009
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Word Perfect is still made.

But, if everything was in assembler maybe we wouldn't have Windows
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Old 7th May 2009
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Historical tangent: I was referring to WordPerfect, the company, which, in its heyday, was a big deal. But they failed to properly recognize the thread Microsoft posed, dismissing the early DOS-based MS Word (which was pretty bad) as being no threat to them. They lived in denial through Windows 3, vast improvements in MS Word, and by the 90's WordPerfect were losing one of their core user bases - the legal community - in increasing numbers. When Corel bought the assets that was the effective end, in my view.

At the time I was doing a lot of integration work with MS Office and other products, building document management systems for legal and government sectors. We saw a precipitous drop in Word Perfect installations during that time... actually I don't believe we saw any new sites adopt WP but we saw, and helped, many move from WP to MS Word.

Back on thread: good programmers are not enough to churn out great products.
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