April 17, 2013
News - Enginursday: I <3 Pyth…
about a year ago
I take mild exception to the suggestion that the Python community “hasn’t embraced” Python3. Most of the really important third-party libraries have been migrated, but not all of them, and some are difficult ports. Any application that depends on a library that hasn’t been ported yet still needs the 2.x branch. It takes time to make these ports and many (if not most) of the developers are volunteers, so if it isn’t broken, they don’t want to fix it. I don’t blame them.
I’ve been working with Python since 1998, and I’ve carefully watched as the (mostly scientific) libraries that I depend on have gradually become Python3-compatible. An interesting thing that I’ve noticed is that the Python community is unbelievably productive and creative now there are new and better alternatives for some of the grey-bearded 2.x libraries I used 4-5 years ago when I first developed some of my applications. When I begin work on the next version of my codes, I’ll refactor them to use the new libraries and Python3.
None of this means I haven’t embraced Python3. I’m one guy, and I do this for fun and to make my own work more productive; I don’t sell code for a living. Rather than suggesting that Python3 is less than accepted, it’s probably more accurate to say that the Python community has been pretty tolerant of those of us lazy slobs that haven’t taken the time to port yet. Simply handling bug fixes and dealing with new versions of the underlying operating systems for 2.7 is a big job, and I’m grateful that the Python developers are still at it so long after the advent of Python3.
When I compare the Python community to what happened to those of us who wrote large applications in Visual Basic 6 before Microsoft tossed the whole platform away for VB.Net, I am eternally happy that I moved away from proprietary language systems and started hacking Python. All I can say is that if you dabble in Python and you like it, get involved with the Python community. You’ll be glad you did!
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