back to article Python wraps its coils around the enterprise

The enterprise, long the stodgy bastion of mainframes, Oracle databases, and Windows servers, is starting to look a lot more like the consumer technology companies that eschew it. As enterprises embrace the web as a way to conduct business and manage employees, they're embracing the very technology stacks originally made …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Gene Cash Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Python talks to everything

    Either there's a built-in module to do it, or you can find something on the net.

    Plus, unlike Perl, you can read the source 6 months later, or someone else can understand/maintain/troubleshoot it without hours of going WTF?

    I especially like the enforced indentation, because I'm tired of maintaining shit that's either totally not indented, or literally randomly indented, and usually there's not a handy indentation program that doesn't choke on the particular piece of code I have.

    1. Ru
      Paris Hilton

      Re: "unlike Perl, you can read the source 6 months later"

      Although Perl facilitates line-noise style programming, I'd argue that unreadable code can be written in any language. If you can't restrain your coders and you won't perform any sort of code review, you're bringing these problems upon yourself.

      I'd have a hard job recommending Perl to anyone, however.

      1. Gordon 11

        Re: "unlike Perl, you can read the source 6 months later"

        I'd have a hard job recommending Perl to anyone, however.

        I'd be unable to recommend python in any way at all.

        It forces you to layout your code in an unreadable manner.

        And it hard-wired /usr/local/ (at least it did - I haven't checked recently) locations into the build (they were not an option), so obviously coded by one user of one user's setup, and hence unsuitable for general use.

        And, just as you say you can write unreadable code in any language, you can write readable code in any language too. Except python (and, probably, APL).

        1. toadwarrior

          Re: "unlike Perl, you can read the source 6 months later"

          Python makes code unreadable? What can't you read something unless it's all on one line or lacks anything resembling indentation?

          If python excels over all languages in anything it would be readability.

    2. Kristian Walsh

      Re: Python talks to everything

      Nah.. write-once code is possible in any language.

      Python has some particularly compelling features for the dick-waving bad programmers who need to show their 1337 skillz. Dynamically altering the default values passed to methods is a great way of showing how brilliant you are, for instance. Also, creating instances of classes where no two instances share the same methods or members really impresses a maintainer (hey, why didn't you look up *why* we invented classes in the first place- testing for every fucking capability before you invoke it was pretty old back in X11, and it hasn't got more desirable since then). And, for extra nerd-points, why not wrap decision logic deep inside a nested list comprehension? I mean, that's where everyone expects to see it..

      Against that, the language is simple enough, and easy to pick up, and mostly logical (apart from join(), of course... showing that technically correct is the worst kind of correct). But if you've come from any language that borrows its syntax from C, you'll be puzzled by what ++i does in Python. Look it up.. which brings me to the biggest drawback about Python, and it's nothing to do with the language.

      There's a core of nutjobs out on the net who seem to have latched onto this one language in particular as if it's going to save civilisation. It isn't. There's also a strong tendency of telling people not how to achieve something, but exactly how the code should be stated: "But it's not Pythonic", is something you'll tire of reading. And the reason why you don't get any warning or error for the meaningless, impotent "++i"? Apparently it's your own fault for having known Other Languages. So there.

      If you can put up with that kind of attitude every time you go looking for help, there's nothing wrong with Python, but do watch your declaration order, and get used to typing "self.". A lot.

      And, while I'm sure the subhead was deliberately written to provoke just this response, here goes anyway: the name Python refers to "Monty", and not the family Pythonidae.

      1. bazza Silver badge

        Re: Python talks to everything

        @Kristian Walsh

        I second all that. Plus the Global Interpreter Lock is a pretty poor construct these days. I mean, who's never heard of a thread blocking on I/O before?

        Python has it's place, some fairly good things have been done in it pretty quickly. But for those who are planning on scaling up truly large it's worth looking at how others have done it.

        Google and Amazon were C/C++ at their cores straight away. Facebook had to work out how to compile PHP in order to scale up (ironically by converting PHP to C++...). Twitter ran into scaling problems with Ruby and jumped ship (over a weekend apparently...) to SCALA, but they're only handling 140 characters at a time. NetFlix are C++ (AFAIK).

        All those outfits are globally enourmous, and only Twitter seem to have avoided going to C++ one way or another. And it's obvious why. When one's datacentre(s) are vast and the energy costs sky high who wouldn't be prepared to spend a few $100k on programmers who can get you that extra few percent savings by going to the lowest level language that's viable?

        1. xperroni

          Re: Python talks to everything

          I have used Python for both personal and in-company projects for the last four years, and I don't know a think about what you guys are talking.

          I have known C/C++ for much longer than Python; the first time I tried i++ and it failed, I switched to i += 1 and never looked back. I don't remember ever trying ++i, playing with the order of increment and read operations is bad form anyway – for God's sake, that extra line of code you're trying to avoid isn't going to break the Internet.

          It's also nice to know that integration with C/C++ is possible and not that hard to achieve, particularly if you rely on wrapping tools such as SWIG; though I've yet to use it myself, the interpreter's performance being good enough for my needs so far.

          I've heard there are Python zealots somewhere, but have yet to meet any. Then again I'm not a very social coder, most of the advice I need can be found on reference docs, tutorials and forum threads (mostly from Stack Overflow) started by people other than me.

          As for "dick-waving"-prone features, I've used some of them here and there, but "basic" Python is almost always enough – and I do a lot with it, from text file processing to COM interfacing with Windows applications, web pages and AI research on NumPy / SciPy. It's a matter of good-sense, knowing that just because you can do something, not necessarily you should do it every single time.

          Overall what I enjoy most about Python is how it encourages writing clean, concise code (though of course you can mess it up if you really want); the speed with which you can slap together a proof-of-concept and then rework it into a practical solution; and the variety of packages and projects that make it a readily-available option for most things one might want to do. That you almost never have to do any changes to run programs on different platforms doesn't hurt either.

          1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: Python talks to everything

            "I have known C/C++ for much longer than Python; the first time I tried i++ and it failed, I switched to i += 1 and never looked back."

            I'm curious. Just *when* did you try i++ and see it fail? As far as I'm aware, there simply has never been a version of C, even in Dennis Ritchie's imagination that didn't support this with exactly the same semantics as the modern language. (Ironically, with your preferred form of "+=" you might be onto a loser if you go back far enough. The operator was originally written =+ but this quickly proved to be ambiguous and accident prone.) It does little for the credibility of the rest of your comment that you took two attempts to add 1 to a variable and shortly afterwards gave up on the language.

            1. Paddy

              Re: Python talks to everything

              "I'm curious. Just *when* did you try i++ and see it fail? As far as I'm aware, there simply has never been a version of C, even in Dennis Ritchie's imagination that didn't support this with exactly the same semantics as the modern language. "

              Maybe the O.P. refers to all the undefined or hard to get right behaviour surrounding legal statements incorporating prefic & postfix incrementin; especially when coupled with assignment.

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

            2. xperroni

              Re: Python talks to everything

              I'm curious. Just *when* did you try i++ and see it fail?

              When I tried it on Python, which is not C, and therefore has no obligation to support it. And indeed, it doesn't.

              So, realizing that i++ was not possible (on Python), I never bothered to try ++i either (on Python), and therefore never stumbled on whatever baffling results it produces (on Python).

              On C / C++ I don't do much ++i either, because the kind of one-liners where it makes a difference are often too obscure and error-prone, and by the time I break them down into something safer and more readable, the relative order of the read and increment operations make no difference any longer.

              1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

                Re: When I tried it on Python

                Ah, I see. A mis-parse on my part, then. Wretched language, English...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "the Global Interpreter Lock is a pretty poor construct these days"

          Well, hold on there chief. If you genuinely need actual real threads, maybe. But non-blocking IO can be done perfectly well using coroutines/greenlets/green threads/lightweight processes or whatever else you want to call em; chunks of non-parallel co-operatively multitasking code. Multithreading is an easy way for you to screw stuf up in lots of subtle and unpleasant and hard to debug ways, and if all you need is nonblocking IO its a bit like using claymore mines to kill rabbits, to coin a slightly tortuous simile.

          Everyone was all about the C++ cos for a long time it was the only game in town if you wanted to do seriously performant stuff. Nowadays though, people who aren't CPU bound generally find that there are all sorts of other options out there which are significantly easier to work with.

          I'm not sure I buy you 'C++ saves you money on your datacentres' argument, but it seems like a tricky one to refute so I'll leave that one for another day ;-)

          1. bazza Silver badge

            Re: "the Global Interpreter Lock is a pretty poor construct these days"

            "Well, hold on there chief. If you genuinely need actual real threads, maybe. But non-blocking IO can be done perfectly well using coroutines/greenlets/green threads/lightweight processes or whatever else you want to call em; chunks of non-parallel co-operatively multitasking code. "

            My point really was that if there were very good reasons to use threads in Python then you're going to need something else too if you want to do blocking IO at the same time you want other threads to run. To have to resort to things like coroutines just to get round the issue of the GIL is crazy if all you want to do in a particular thread is read something from a socket whenever it cares to turn up. Makes writing something like a mult-theaded server unnecessarily painful.

            To me it's just a symptom that the Python creators found solving the problem to be too hard (for exactly the reasons you outline about threads in general), so wisely didn't even try. By the by, I invite you to consider the relationship between NUMA, the pipe() function, and Intel's Quick Path Interconnect / AMD's HyperTransport. Once you understand that relationship threads become a *lot* easier, unless you're programming in Windows.

            The point about C++ in the data centre is that if you're I/O bound then your CPU is too powerful for your needs so you're wasting electricity. It does mean that you can 'get away' with things like Python, Ruby, etc. which in turn may bring about genuine business benefits.

            To get the best efficiency you want a CPU that's only just fast enough to keep your I/O fully utilised. And if you really optimise your code in C++ (hell, why not C?!) you can get away with a CPU that's just a little bit more modest. That makes a worthwhile difference to an electricity bill when you're the size of Google or Amazon. The trick I guess is to anticipate whether one's own data cente is ever going to have to scale that large and choose a language as appropriate at the right point in time; tricky.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "the Global Interpreter Lock is a pretty poor construct these days"

              "To have to resort to things like coroutines just to get round the issue of the GIL is crazy if all you want to do in a particular thread is read something from a socket whenever it cares to turn up. Makes writing something like a mult-theaded[sic] server unnecessarily painful"

              The fact that you are suggesting that coroutines or green threads are some sort of crazy last resort implies you are not very familiar with their use or function. To use conventional threading for IO is crazy. Conventional threading is great (for various values of great) fo when you need to perform CPU intensive tasks. Using a whole thread to do blocking IO when you want to do some other stuff in the background is absolutely crazy when you have alternatives; especially safer alternatives that don't suffer from synchronisation problems.

        3. toadwarrior

          Re: Python talks to everything

          What facebook does is irrelevant for 99% of businesses because they're never going to be as big as facebook. That's like recommending a lorry to someone needing something to take their food shopping home.

          Google also use python btw because only moron would code everything in C++. You'd only use that where necessarry because otherwise it's a pita.

          1. Displacement Activity

            Re: only moron would code everything in C++

            Ok, I am that moron, but you'll need to explain this to me in shorter words. My current app is 30K lines of C++. Most of this is back-end, admittedly, but why use a completely different language for the 2 or 3K lines of CGI code? What's the point? Why does CGI code even need to be interpreted? It doesn't: this is not an environment where rapid prototyping is important. what matters is that it's fast, it works, it's bullet-proof, it can be maintained, and that there's a large pool of programmers who can take it over. PHP is way down the list on all these criteria, and Perl doesn't even make it onto the list. I've got 130 lines of PHP, mainly because phpmailer is so convenient. The C++ CGI code is trivial to change and maintain, and recompiles in a few seconds with a single make.

            @Matt Asay: "Java and .Net continue to rule the enterprise roost"... wish you'd told me that before I got started; it might have given me a chance to load Windows on the server.

    3. Chris Thomas Alpha
      Thumb Up

      Re: Python talks to everything

      HERE HERE!!! Nail, meet hammer, on the head.

      I am always fighting to get my developers to learn some basic style guidelines, to the point where I would happily trade away the benefit and just subjugate myself to the programming language.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Python ...

      FYI, Python + dJango, the easiest and fastest way to get going; It Just Works:

  2. Trollslayer
    Thumb Down

    A scripting language vs. a low level language?

    Two completely different things that operate in different domains.

    As Gene says, a Python/Perl comparison would have been valid.

    Very poor.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: A scripting language vs. a low level language?

      Python and Java/.Net operate in pretty much the same domain on the server. And they are all either pre-parsed p-code compilers or JITs with a VM anyway so they are all scripting languages

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A scripting language vs. a low level language?

        Being run on a VM or through a JIT makes a language a 'scripting language'? Well, congrats on a) misunderstanding what a scripting language is, b) misunderstanding the point that the OP was trying to make.

        The fact that the two of you are making the same mistake but casting it in two different lights would be entertaining, were it not for the fact that 'scripting language' is a phrase that seems to have been robbed of any meaning; I'm always grumpy when a perfectly reasonable linguistic tool is blunted through careless use.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: A scripting language vs. a low level language?

          Unfortunately, no-one knows what a scripting language is.

          Riddle me this:

          1) Is Groovy a scripting language?

          2) How about if the code has been compiled into .class files?

          3) How about when the code is available in text files that can be edited with and vi and the program is compiled at process startup?

          4) How about when the process is running but checks code in text files for changes and reloads then on need?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: A scripting language vs. a low level language?

            1) No.

            2) No.

            3) No.

            4) No.

            There, that was easy.

            1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
              Paris Hilton

              Re: A scripting language vs. a low level language?

              Such parochialism!

              Pray tell what exactly is the magic water that you have to spray to scriptify stuff?

              And will interpreted C++ code (e.g. used in the ROOT data visualization framework) work for you?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Such parochialism!

                Groovy is a perfectly capable language for developing whole, serious applications in. Contrast, say, unix shell scripts. Perhaps you might use Groovy for scripting, but then, you could use C for scripting too, and I don't think anyone would call that a scripting language either.

                "And will interpreted C++ code (e.g. used in the ROOT data visualization framework) work for you?"

                Interpreted C++ will work for anyone who also feels that glue sniffing is a reasonable idea.

            2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

              Re: There, that was easy

              Sadly, case 3 describes pretty much how most web browsers handle Javascript these days. Obviously you are free to reject the suggestion that Javascript is a scripting language, but I suspect the majority of professional programmers would disagree with you there.

              As for the article's claim that scripting languages are on the rise ... pah! In the absence of a formal definition, I would suggest that both UNIX shell scripts and Microsoft's wretched Visual Basic are scripting languages (even if the latter eventually allowed you to compile the code) and both probably still have more lines of code in operation on their respective systems than any of these "new-fangled" languages mentioned in the article.

    2. toadwarrior

      Re: A scripting language vs. a low level language?

      True but if you read the whole article you'd see it pointed (quite rightly) that scripting languages make more sense for web development. Sure you can use java but nearly all java frameworks are hell and maintainence and minor changes are hell and if you're not doing anything particularly grand you're taking more processing power and memory to do it in java.

    3. Graham Bartlett

      Re: A scripting language vs. a low level language?


      The reason scripting languages are used for more stuff these days is threefold - better cross-platform-ness, easier maintenance, and sheer horsepower on the servers. Of those, the third is most likely to have made the biggest difference. The other two are nice, but unless you can run that code fast enough to be useful then you're SOL.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Alan Bourke

      Re: Newer Languages?

      Dot Not^WNet?

      That's nearly as sad as writing 'M$'.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Someone Else Silver badge

          Re: @Nick

          Well you can try DotNyet (one of my faves)

      2. Anonymous Dutch Coward

        Re: Newer Languages?

        Perhaps. But the poster does have a point regarding the dates, right?

  4. Mark 75

    Hmmm write an "enterprise" application in SpringMVC or in Django? Python wins hands-down for shallow learning curve, simplicity, and speed to market - and I'm a java developer!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PHP is the Jenkem of gateway drugs

    Python is doing well because it is a decent grown-up language that's not totally filled with warts (eg. Perl, PHP) and wasn't hamstrung by an underperforming implementation (eg. Ruby) and was designed from the outset to be a reasonable programming language (eg. unlike PHP). It has been around long enough to accrue a decent set of third party libraries which perform reasonably well. Hell, you can even use flavours of it on the CLR or JVM and make use of existing libraries there, too.

    From that point of view its success isn't really surprising; not everyone gets into a tizzy about semantic whitespace, after all.

    Me, I'm more of a fan of polyglot development. Using a reasonable dynamically typed language that can be closely and easily bound to a statically typed language is a powerful technique that makes it easy to combine rapid development with good performance. With Java/Scala in the static typing corner, and Clojure/Jython/JRuby/Rhino in the dynamic (or if you're a CLR user, C# and IronPython), you've got something a bit more compelling than either on its own. Single language systems aren't really so interesting or indeed desirable these days.

  6. implicateorder

    Having developed code in perl, python and ruby, i can comments on a few things --

    Perl is a more left-brain oriented scripting language and is very powerful. Its strength imho is thr fact that you dont have to play with data my chaotic world of sys admin, that is very time-conserving.

    Python is great, but i have used it to interface my unix systems with windows primarily...perl on unix, python-based gui apps on windows. Love its enforced indentation...hate the fact th regex doesnt work exactly like in perl...

    Ruby (on rails) is great for quick mvc type development...autogenerates the sql as well. Imho, it is awesome for rapid prototyping..

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The problem with Python

    It does suffer from the curse of script languages, which is that as an application grows, you eventually find you need to move to a different language, which is faster/easier to debug/some other reason.

    The problem with Python, is that you can keep using it a lot longer than any other script language before you have to move. And when you do, the moving costs are a lot higher.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The problem with Python

      Hmm, I don't think I'd dismiss Python as a scripting language; its primary use certainly isn't scripting these days (everyone tends towards shell scripts and perl, after all).

      There are two problems, anyway. Firstly, assuming that you didn't choose your programming language because all the cool kids were using it (hello Ruby, circa 2007!) you should be unlikely to get bitten by critical failings of the language or the runtime. Python is quite performant, and if you've run the application into the ground and are looking for a new language, perhaps you should be looking long and hard at your architecture and development practises. We're not talking about moving away from old school C/C++ after all (where the benefits of a new language are very clear cut).

      Secondly, perhaps you should consider using an architecture which facilitates easier changes of language. Not all python apps can be painlessly ported to JPython, but when you have done so you'll find it rather more straightfoward to reimplement parts of it in Java and limit future refactoring pain.

      Unless of course your application is a horrible mess, in which case you'd probably have screwed everythng up regardless of the language you chose.

    2. sgtrock

      Use the right tool for the right job.

      If you're looking for The One True Language to Do All Things, you're looking at the problem wrong. As Google, Weta, the Mozilla Foundation, CERN, and many, many other organizations have found, Python scales up to some huge work loads. The trick is to use it where it works well and choose other languages where it is appropriate to do so.

      As a devoted Python fan, I'll be the first to admit that it does have its weaknesses. It was never meant to be a speed demon for writing code close to the metal, for one. Managing multiple threads can be a challenge, too, if you don't think through your design ahead of time. Even with these challenges, as I noted above there are plenty of organizations using Python to run some HUGE work loads. CERN, for one, uses it to manage hundreds of petabytes of data for analysis:


      Python's strengths lie exactly where they should be to make long term maintenance of any application easy:

      1) Python makes writing easy to read code easy to do. This is critical when you have to dive into a module that you haven't looked at for a long time or when taking over code maintenance from someone else. (Note: While some will argue that you can write easy to read code in any language, only the most stubborn will say that every language makes this task as easy as Python does.)

      2) Python's native development environment and ease of writing code makes rapid prototyping almost trivially simple. For simple tasks, moving from a working prototype to production is much faster than in many other languages. As you noted as a weakness but I see as a strength, Python also allows a small scale application to grow quite large before it has to be replaced.

      I see this as a strength, not a weakness, for two reasons. First, writing clean code in Python is easy enough that rewriting from scratch in a new design much less expensive than it would be in C or Java. Second, see reason #3:

      3) Python has a wide range of predefined modules written in C that handle the heavy lifting for compute intensive tasks. Where such a module doesn't exist, Python makes it easy and computationally cheap to call out to other resources to handle those tasks. Which leads us to advantages #4 and #5:

      4) Because it's so easy to call out to external resources, it's easy to rewrite just the performance pain points in a more appropriate language.

      5) Because it's so easy to call out to external resources, it's easy to design an application from the ground up that uses Python to stitch together disparate sources to complete a task.

      6) Finally, Python is popular enough and has been around long enough that there is a very large pool of battle hardened libraries already built for you. Outside of the obvious things like NumPy, SciPy, PyQt, Django, etc., a little googling will turn up plenty of options for just about any task.

      So, don't worry about replacing an app written in Python. You won't. ;-) (kidding! sort of) You might replace some pieces over time, but doing so is so easy that you won't mind at all.

    3. Paddy

      Re: The problem with Python

      You are probably going about things in the wrong way if you advocate moving away from scripting as the problem gets huge or needs greater speed. Scripting languages like Ruby/Python/TCL allow you to get a working prototype out faster and give you something you can actually measure to find out where the problems lie.

      Rather than a wholesale move to another language, scripting languages are built to interface with utilities written in other languages. If you know of a more performant tool for part of your task you have *measured* as being deficient in its script implementation then you could make another version that calls out to that library written in some other language. You can then test one version against the other for correctness as well as checking that you get your speed bump or whatever. Leave the scripting language in control of a larger application of many parts.

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. Spoonsinger

    Year of the snake is 2013.

    Although something has gone extremely wiggly with the caption on the main page, (as of 14:02 today) - or is it just Firefox?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Year of the snake is 2013.

      Maybe, but I don't see any programming language based on dragons, either of the type that sits atop falcons, the type that addicts inhale, the type that is female and shouts a lot, the type that has a lot of money and likes to take the piss out of people's business ideas, or the type that's called a dragon 'coz it's always dragon people into its cave and chewin' 'em up.

      Maybe someone should make one.

  10. whydoineedabloodyhandle

    Job Trends from

    Whose piss poor effort is this? Has someone been studying dodgy graphs 101? 6 is a 600% increase on 1, 1.1 million a 10% increase on 1 million, but 100,000 new jobs is a lot more than 5. Without seeing the actual numbers of jobs this graph is rubbish. The only reason for presenting data in a format like this is to hide the fact that there is no story in it.

  11. wowfood

    c++ php .net java python?

    okay, I can understand

    php vs .net

    java vs python

    but what the hell is C++ doing in there?

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: c++ php .net java python?

      It's like being invited to a party where everyone is drinking cocktails except this one guy drinking beer.

      I prefer to be that one guy :)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: c++ php .net java python?

        It's like being invited to a party where everyone is drinking cocktails except this one guy drinking beer. I prefer to be that one guy :)

        Bad analogy. The C++ guy would be the one drinking white spirit, as both programming language and fluid cause similar levels of brain damage.

        1. M Gale

          Re: c++ php .net java python?

          The C++ guy would be the one around back with the distillery making all the brews for the cocktail drinkers.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    wait wut?

    This has given developers unprecedented choice after years of basically a binary choice between Java or .Net.

    uhm... what?

    php has been around since 1995, ASP didn't enter the field until 1998.

    And .net didn't appear until around 2002 so how the frack was it a binary choice between java and .net?

    Going just by dates it shoudl be a binary choice between java and php. although I assume at the time both were released perl and cgi were more popular.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: wait wut?

      You're not the first to mention the age of PHP.

      You all seem to have forgotten how mind-bogglingly awful it was back then. PHP4 didn't come out til 2000, and PHP5 wasn't about tl 2004. Which of those (if either) you consider to be a reasonable development platform I'll leave to your personal taste (or lack thereof).

      So yes, a choice between Perl/CGI and Java would have been a more sensible thing totalk about.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can only think that the author has never used C++ in anger

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      All use of C++ eventually ends in anger.

      1. Vanir

        Re: All use of C++ eventually ends in anger

        Well, Linus did say 'a lot of substandard programmers use it'.

        They do create a lot of anger I asume.

        Hang on, I know they create a lot of anger.

        C++, VB, or any other coding language is not immune from this charge. They are everywhere and being created everywhere.

        I would just like to know what 'standard' he had in mind when he said this.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      C++ is a thrilling, astounding and amazing language

      Haven't found the edge of it yet, still looking

      1. python

        What if Ptython could generate a clean and efficiente executable?

        Today, I use C++ to execute very fast integration tasks between disparate systems, where administrators of these systems do not want to know about dependencies or Web Applications, only one executable file. I think this kind of work is still useful even in mobile devices, when acces to Internet is not possible all the time.

        For doing this job in python, regardless of speed, you need to install the python package including all batteries, you eventually need to include another software (database clients, LDAP, etc) If you accidentally delete some component, your application does not work. Also, you must install the same software in every machine you want your python program to execute.

        Would you use python if it could generate single executable files that run on machines or devices that do not need the python installed? I do not know if PyPy helps in this endeavor although I think it needs a framework, the same as .net.

  14. Tom 7 Silver badge

    If you think your favourite language is better than someone elses

    you understand neither and will waste your life telling people how much better yours is stopping both of you getting any fucking coding done.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If you think your favourite language is better than someone elses

      This isn't primary school where everyone is a delicate little snowflake, and its mean to say bad things about the other kiddies because they're special too. Some languages and development platforms are objectively downright bad, wrong and stupid. The hurt productivity, they hamper maintainability and they can easily damage employee morale, too.

      You disagree? So, if raw performance is not the primary requirement, why would you choose C++ over Java or C#? Given access to coders of equal competence, why would you choose perl over python or ruby? How about using ASP classic instead of, uh, anything else?

      Of course, when you get to the point where you're comparing two mature languages with a decent number of competent devs available in the world and a moderately comprehensive library and a good set of dev, build, test and deployment tools, all that's left is personal preference and dick-waving.

      If you think all languages in the world fit that mould, you're very badly mistaken.

  15. Stevie


    "Python". "PHP". "Perl". Pah! Eschew all these faddy "in" languages and program all your important stuff in Cobol.

    The reason Cobol drives the youngsters into a fury is that no matter how many years C and its look-alikes have in the enterprise, Cobol has twice that long in service. They could build 'em in the old days, eh? Takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

    Plus, you can knock off Cobol programming for 20 years and still read the stuff if you need to (which you hardly ever do since the nature of a payroll or general ledger doesn't change much over the decades). Knock off Perl for three weeks and it reads like Linear B.

    No-doubt someone will bring up Y2K, but the only software I personally witnessed failing due to y2k issues were my local ATM door locks that were filled with C that wouldn't open the doors because it was yesterday. This in turn was because the C team was so busy being smug they forgot to actually check on their awesome.

    Cobol is the way forward for the important stuff: the bit where you count your money and charge people for your services.

    Why would you want to write financial software in a C-like language anyway, with its two types of equals, daft rules when it comes to where you need or don't need a semi-colon and no built-in datatype for manipulating money (leading in at least one embarrassing case to deployment of banking software that used floating point arithmetic)?

    One more thing. Steampunk is retro. Steampunk is very "in". Cobol is about as retro as they come and some of the equipment it used to run on was a steampunker's delight. Program in Cobol, and attract the keen attention of young women in tight corsetry! All you'll get with "Python" and its ilk are spotty young guys who don't bathe often enough. Nobody wants that.

    Cobol, the language that opens a world of infinite crumpet possibility.

    1. proto-robbie

      Re: Bah!

      Dude, have you checked out the Three Wolves T-shirt?

    2. Anonymous Dutch Coward

      Re: Bah!

      Is that some punched cards in your trousers or are you just glad to be saying this?

      Still, I get your point... apparently being a COBOL maintenance programmer can be quite profitable, too. As for COBOL and Perl: I can't program in either, but understand one much better than the other ;)

      All hail COBOL, the Visual Basic of all ages!

  16. Sandtreader

    ASSERT_FALSE("C++" == "C#");

    (and I shall go to my grave saying C-hash, so there!)

  17. Ye Gads


    Right, so Python has exploded 600% while Java/.Net have grown by 25% over the same 4 year period. As "any fule no" it's easy to generate large growth rates from small numbers. if I go from 10 to 60 that is 600% growth, and 600% growth sounds much better than 50...

    Lets look at some real numbers, taken from

    In the last 3 months:

    .Net 23381 (.Net Developer 8184)

    Java 18322 (6110 Java Developer)

    3295 Python (273 Python Developer)

    Looking at this, I'd suggest that business are mentioning Python in their job adverts a lot more but are

    still not really looking for people with Python as a primary skill in large numbers (notice the difference between Python and Python Developer).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Innumerate

      From 10 to 60, isn't that 500% growth or 600% of the original amount?

  18. Stephen Channell
    Thumb Down

    PHP , Python : legacy languages

    You gotta love statistics, take a look at the query for {PHP; Python; Scala;F#} from the same site at PHP, Python, Scala, f#

    When you take Scala & F# into the picture PHP and Python start to look like the legacy stuff.

    All these recruitment statistics hide some of the fundamentals, like the need to constantly recruit script developers for those “oh, it never did that before.. better get someone in” scenarios where inadequately tested code falls over. Systematically tested C#/Java code with high code-coverage during functional & performance testing is less likely to fall-over and need constant maintenance.

    Functional programming on the other hand has the productivity of a scripting shell, the performance of C#/Java and the architecture for parallel programming on all those cores to rival C++ for raw throughput.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: PHP , Python : legacy languages

      Systematically tested C#/Java code with high code-coverage during functional & performance testing is less likely to fall-over and need constant maintenance.

      A good testing strategy will save many a project and should be independent of the programming language; assuming the language provides nice access to testing tools. I'm not sure what you mean by "functional testing", i.e. whether this is a synonym for unit-testing (terminology may be indicate language bias) also also includes more user-side testing, which unfortunately breaks very easily. A key side-effect of testing is that the premises and hypothesis behind the code become exposed. When it comes to maintenance, and I think the metrics show that more time is devoted to software maintenance than to development, readability counts.

      1. Stephen Channell

        Re: PHP , Python : legacy languages

        ‘nice access to testing tools’ kinda hits the nail on the head for systematic code-coverage because the language needs to provide rich metadata and a reflection interface for code-coverage analysis. You can’t do code coverage with a dynamic scripting code (C++ code-coverage tools are pretty woeful too). When you can’t even see what other scripts are dependent on the one you’ve just changed.. you’re bound to hit the occasional “it didn’t do that before”. JVM/CLR provided the metadata and reflection interfaces.

        Functional testing covers the full range of test scenarios from unit-testing to end-to-end acceptance testing (does what it is functionally required to do)

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: coverage

          You can’t do code coverage with a dynamic scripting code

          Python does have a coverage module for use with one of the testing frameworks. I don't know how that compares with Java and .NET equivalents but I do think it is wrong to categorically assert that coverage can't be obtained for dynamic languages but 100% is possible for unit tests.

          Sure, there are cases where the code can be mutated in runtime but these are minimal and should only come from people who are happy to shoot themselves in the foot or prepared to use PyPy to create a statically compiled version of their code.

          I thought that the debate had moved on from simple static vs. dynamic into horses for courses. Statically compiling does not remove all sources of errors, which is why we have testing. It does allow for much better memory allocation which is one of the main reasons that compiled code runs faster.

    2. Roo

      Re: PHP , Python : legacy languages

      Functional <= C++ on || code (IMHO). Ubiquity && Maturity.

  19. Bruno Girin

    Python vs PHP in the enterprise

    To understand why Python is making headways into the enterprise more than PHP is, you need to understand where and how python is used.

    First things first, when it comes to internet facing mission critical systems, rightly or wrongly there are only two games in town as far as enterprises are concerned: Java/JEE and .NET. When it comes to mission critical back-end systems, it's the same story with the addition of mainframes. Python and PHP are not displacing those and will probably not do so for several more years.

    Python and PHP are being used in other areas that are not mission critical for the enterprise and certainly nothing that is internet facing. And this is where python has an advantage over PHP: PHP is seen primarilly as a language to build web sites so if it's not going to displace the incumbents in that space, it doesn't have many more places to go. On the other hand, python is seen more as shell scripting on steroids than as a web language and it comes pre-installed on the hundreds of Unix / Linux boxes that live in a typical large enterprise network. As a result, I see python used extensively to automate sys admin / operational tasks, such as building deployment scripts for JEE applications, parsing logs, etc. Once it's being used within a company, it's a small step to use it more extensively.

  20. MIc

    When looking at a new language

    When I see articles about how cool a language is it rarely contains any treatment on how easy it is to ensure quality with that language. I think this is a critical attribute of a language that should be one of the first questions asked. With C# and Java you have a very robust set of design patterns and capabilities that enable quality. How does one pull of separation of concerns with Python? How do I design a Python component so I can isolate the system under test at various levels? Code Coverage?

    1. Paddy

      Re: When looking at a new language

      What is a design pattern in one language becomes embedded in a more powerful language. Take using fict keys as a set: a design pattern once - now built in to the language . Take the decorate-sort-undecorate pattern, or the Schwartzian transform: that too is now built-in to the Python sort function.

      Sometimes having a wealth of design patterns to learn just highlights the inadequaces of a language.

  21. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Apples and Oranges

    These languages are "breaking into the enterprise" partly because some of the startups that used them are becoming enterprise. There have been some early successes in certain domains: banks like Python because one of the popular backend systems (I forget the name) exposes the C++ via Python; ILM and Disney were early adopters, because like many others, they discovered its advantage for plumbing other bits together and helping move lots of data around, NumPy and SciPy are moving from the scientific community to enterprise - NASA and ESA are now modelling jet engines in Python.

    The jobs fair at this year's PyCon was a veritable who's who of "large" companies: Google, Facebook but also Cisco and Morgan Stanley.

  22. Jean-Luc
    Thumb Up

    Django wasn't always the obvious choice

    >And while PHP's multitudinous choices for frameworks, with Python your primary choice is Django.

    Funny thing is that it was such a change for the Python community to "standardize" on a web framework.

    I've been working with Python since 98. A typical newbie question might have gone something like:

    Noob: "what is the best Python GUI library to use ".

    A1: "define best"

    A2: "there are many GUI libraries. TCL/WxPython/Boa/.... take a look and evaluate which one best fits your needs"

    A3: "Best is TCL. No, Boa. No, win32"

    A4 "GUI libraries are 3rd party modules, not part of the core distribution. as such we don't feel there is case for the Python distributions to recommend one over the other".

    At this point the sad noob would either leave. Or roll his own GUI library ;-)

    Web frameworks started that way too, with massive fragmentation. But the Python community finally figured out the boost given to Ruby by Rails.

    Also, Django rocks!

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Failed at the First Paragraph

    The enterprise, long the stodgy bastion of mainframes, Oracle databases, and Windows servers

    Here is someone who fancies himself as an executive type, and one with a chunk of Linux in his history, who can't even remember the contribution Unix made, and probably still makes, in the server room.

  24. Dave 3


    Tiobe has:

    1. C

    2. Java

    3. C++

    4. Objective C

    5. C#

    6. Visual Basic

    7. PHP

    8. Python

    9. Perl

    10. Ruby

    11. Javascript

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HipHop anyone?

    @Reportard: "As enterprises embrace the web as a way to conduct business and manage employees, they're embracing the very technology stacks originally made popular at Facebook, Google, and other consumer-facing web properties. On the programming language front, while Java and C++ aren't going away anytime soon, PHP and Python have established themselves as first-class citizens in the enterprise..."




    Yours sincerely,

    Commentard (who uses language depending on the problem domain rather than hype)

  26. toadwarrior

    python coding is awesome

    Obviously there is no such language that can be all things to all people but the does indeed lend itself to dynamic languages and python is the best of the lot. Perl is good too but try getting people to use it and PHP is a joke. PHP is a mess and I think its maintainers must hate it.

    Using C++ is a non-event unless you're serving like half the internet population at any given time and .Net and Java make everything take more time (development, deployment, etc). Imo, they're languages PHBs pick.

    Even if PHP looked nice it's too focuses on the web. That's what's nice about python. You can use it for nearly anything so you can quickly write non web code to help with your web development.

    And tbh if you find python to be too slow or too problematic then you probably shouldn't be coding at all. You're either using the completely wrong tool or write poor code.

  27. This post has been deleted by its author

  28. Sentient

    All hype anyway

    This statement 'it's clear why PHP and Python are generally preferred to older languages like Java and .Net' is wrong.

    Python is much older than java & .NET.

    All languages are continuously improved anyway.

    What you're seeing is that less performant languages take over jobs from more difficult high performance languages.

    That's because

    * we have to deliver more features faster.

    * Processing power is continuing to become cheaper

    * Management is all on twitter and facebook eductating itself on technologies.

    A good developer chooses the right tool for the job. This taking into account technological facts but also company strategy. (Who will have to support this code after me.)

  29. John H Woods

    In other news ...

    ... Smalltalk has yet to be bettered ...

  30. XiaoMai

    Python? MySQL? PHP? Security?

    Tou have to be kidding, haven't you? If you spent as much time looking at the apache logs of compromised websites, as I have, you wouldn't advocate such an irresponsible approach.

    80% of all attacks on websites are via PHP or MySQL. Almost all XSS and SQL injection attacks are through one or other of the above mnetioned 'languages'. Any company with serious data to protect wouldn't dream of using them to build an application - however 'cool' or convenient it might be for the programmer. The truth of the matter is, that the number of so-called 'web programmers' couldn't write a decent compiled language to save their lives.

    Yes, that's the solution, if you're at all interested in securing your site: write all of your backend code in something that produces machine code - which doesn't try to interpret fake commands, injected by a malicious hacker. Pro*C may not be as easy to write as these kiddy languages, but it has never been the point of entry of something nasty.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022