so, what is python and what is good about it?
If you don't know what it is or what is good about it, why would you make a decision to learn it?
Start with some basic investigation before posting questions of this level of generality:
I've heard a lot of times that python is a good tool to have, and is a good way to work your way into more powerful and complicated languages like C++. I realize my question was vague, but I suppose what I was getting at was what sets it apart from other languages and what are some advantages and setbacks of using the language.
There are quite a few articles, etc. on pros of Python:
(I also just noticed the link I posted to the wiki on it missed a left paren. It should have been http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Python_(programming_language))
I've heard a lot of times that python is a good tool to have, and is a good way to work your way into more powerful and complicated languages like C++.
Do not underestimate the power of python. Unless you're planning to write something really low level, like a device drivers, I don't think you need the power that comes from C++. I'm a big fan of C++, but it complicates everything. Even the simplest things in C++ are more complicated than I want them to be. Since I started diving into Python I have written programs that I never could have done in C++ because it is just too hard.
The other day I wrote a program in Python that sends a query to Google, grabs the results, filters out all the stuff I don't want, and sends me an email. I had something quick and dirty going in an hour and I had a finely polished piece of code in about four hours. I don't even know where I would begin if I was going to do that in C++.
I used to think that because Python was interpreted and not compiled it wouldn't perform as well as C++. A quick conversation with one of the Computer Science professors at my University changed my mind about that. Most of the time Python is going to perform as well as C++, or the loss of performance will be so negligible that it isn't worth mentioning. Especially when you compare the amount of time it takes to write functioning code in each language.
In short, the more I use Python the more I start to feel like I don't need anything else.
Thanks, I downloaded the interpreter, the syntax looks really really easy.
I don't know if I'll write any device drivers, I'm just trying to wrap my head around OO languages, learn everything type of thing. I'll probably take courses on some languages next year, I just want a little bit of background before I go wandering into a classroom
I actually just started to pick Python back up a couple of days ago. What has probably helped me most is going through the problems at Project Euler. It's a great way to not only learn the syntax of the language but also some of the things that make it so powerful. I had one solution that I wrote in C# that ended up being like 50-60 lines of code, but because of the way Python makes handling lists so easy, it ended up being like 5 lines of code for the same solution.
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