Friday, July 8, 2011

Back to Normal

I've neglected this blog over the past seven months, due initially to escalating family dramas and then to inertia. The dramas are not material for the blog and seem to have settled sufficiently for me to turn back to what I call normal life.

My major project this year has been to tackle some new software development and, as part of that, to learn some new stuff. That took me on a tour of interesting programming languages in the hope that I could combine a new language with my development project. In no particular order, I've looked at some Lisp languages (Scheme, Common Lisp, Clojure) and some functional languages (Erlang, Haskell). All of them appeal in some ways and not in others. I'll try to cover the salient points in subsequent posts, but the take home lesson is that I've decided to go back to an old favourite, Python, for now.

I've been writing in Python for almost twenty years, and the fact that most of my code is written for Python-1.2 is a symptom of that. I've modified it over the years to accommodate what I call gratuitous changes in the language and libraries (which the Python community have of course all considered carefully and determined to be improvements). Being fully engaged in my work, I have not participated in the Python development process in any way for many years and that has left me in an awkward position when it comes to whining about the evolution of the language.

So I've decided on two steps for the immediate future. I'm going to sit down and learn Python-3.2+ thoroughly to get up to speed with the current state of the language and I'm going to pay attention to the ongoing development of the language in order to stay current. I may even manage to contribute in some way to Python. I'll probably return to some of those other languages in a year or so, to keep my brain open to useful ideas, but I think most of my work will be with Python and C for the present.

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