[SciPy-user] python (against java) advocacy for scientific projects

Bill Baxter wbaxter@gmail....
Wed Jan 21 04:58:09 CST 2009


On Wed, Jan 21, 2009 at 6:15 AM, Ravi <lists_ravi@lavabit.com> wrote:
>> But the point is that it is difficult for no reason but a dreadful
>> syntax. Something like eigen could be done in a higher level language.
>> To everyone his own interet, I guess, but I don't understand the joy
>> of spending time coding and debugging template code. It is just awful
>> - the compiler often cannot tell you even the line which has a syntax
>> error.
>
> I partly agree (and assert that you need to use better compilers, like
> Comeau). I wish it were possible to write DSELs easily in some other language
> (preferably some enhancement of OCaml), but I haven't yet found such a
> language that has sufficient mindshare in my area of work :-(

These days I use Python for stuff that doesn't need to run fast, and
the D programming language for the rest.  It would please me very much
if I never had to write another line of C++ in all my living days.
And that goes triple for C++ template code.  Templates in D are a joy
compared to C++ templates.  They're actually usable for
meta-programming without turning your code into a spaghetti mess of
little helper structs and macros.   D's also got built-in GC so you
don't have to micromanage your memory.  And it's got familiar syntax
so you don't have to turn your brain inside out just to figure out how
to iterate over a list.  You can also call C or Fortran code directly
just by rewriting the function prototypes (kinda like ctypes lets you
do for python).  I've been pretty happy with it.  But it is still a
little raw around the edges at times, as is probably the case with
pretty much any non-mainstream language.

--bb


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