Python 3.0 – a step forward?

16 10 2008

Python 3.0, as has already been announced, will be a completely different animal than Python 2.0. Developers have been seeing those changes as the 2.x releases roll out, with, for example, some things that worked in 2.2 requiring coding changes in order to work in 2.3. Some are saying that in their shops this is taking Python out of contention for use in upcoming projects.

However, as I look at what is happening and the direction Guido van Rossum is taking the language, it seems to me that Python is doing some seriously fast maturing. Back in the hey day of Big Iron major changes may take 15 or 20 years to work through committees and standards bodies before being implemented, with changes trickling out as generations of programmers came into the work force. The maturing process Guido is forcing on us will occur in the space of one, maybe two programmer generations.

The key here though is that Python is maturing, improving its fudamental and philosophical consistence. At the end of the process we will have a language that is free of inconsistencies that we have to remember to work around: already Python handles printing as a function instead of some specially handled process, er, process that is somehow special.

Growth and maturing can be painful. Just ask the kid who grew 6″ over the summer instead of taking 3 years like everyone else. But Python, and we, will be better for it having completed the process intentionally and quickly.




One response

18 10 2008

“Completely different animal” I think is much too strong, as is the treatment in the link you embed. The changes are all about clearing out any accumulated cruft – XP to Vista it ain’t.

– Paddy.

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