Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Bad Idea #75 - Mandatory Indentation

Bad Idea #75 - Mandatory Indentation

I've done it!
I've finally learned Python.
Could not put it off any longer and what a cool language! 

Found out about the origin of the name. Guessing Guido wanted the Holy Grail of languages. I'm also a fan of the comedy troupe, and MP/HG is one of my favorite films, so you might expect me to love the language just for that. But no. Had to continue with my bad attitude.

Anyone notice that the Dutch are taking over the computing world? And in case GvR ever runs across this, I have been to Haarlem. Beautiful town. 

I didn't like Python.
It's an aesthetics thing.
(I dislike Perl for the same reason, resulting in similar self injury.) 

Thou Shalt Bathe

Unlike my friend JEP, I have no allergy to curly braces, so for me there's no need for indentation (as far as making the compiler/interpreter happy). But I do indent. Always have. C'mon ... that's the most basic coding hygiene. (I bathe too.)

What offends me about Python is that indentation is part of the language, that indentation is mandatory. (Somewhere in the history of 'make' is a similar soggy saga w/r/t indentation. I will cite another time.)

Look ... I indent as a matter of course, so when I refrain from indenting there's a reason for it. But with Python I don't have that liberty. The language forces me to indent like a parent telling their kid to brush their teeth.

A Pearl of a Language

Now that I've dived in, this water's fine. Really. 
Writing new code is easy as shell. Yet it is much better structured (than shell) so the results are less of a hack and more like a Mack (truck). It has a strong collection of libraries, including a spiffy OS interface, and supports "the right" set of data types.

Took less than a day to port one of my Tcl scripts to Python. Easy! And fun!

Yet, like any gem, it does have flaws. 
Maybe "flaws" is too strong of a word. Call them "qualities". 
I've been so apologetic about REXX over the years. Python has similar quirks. (And MFC gets a pass on quirks because REXX was created in a vacuum before the glut of scripting languages we now carry.) Some aspects of Python take a bit of getting used to ... in a way that reminds me of REXX.

I already lost one job offer due to lack of Perl skills. 
Hopefully I won't lose any others from lack of Python prowess. 

Now looking forward to more Python. 

-- R; <><

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