[AstroPy] Advice against learning IRAF in favor of learning Python

laidler@stsc... laidler@stsc...
Thu Jun 25 14:03:44 CDT 2009

---- Original message ----
>Date: Thu, 25 Jun 2009 11:44:23 -0700 (PDT)
>From: astropy-bounces@scipy.org (on behalf of David Goldsmith <d_l_goldsmith@yahoo.com>)
>Subject: [AstroPy] Advice against learning IRAF in favor of learning Python  
>To: astropy@scipy.org
>> Speaking as someone who made the IDL->Python switch and
>> had to
>> learn IRAF along the way for other reasons, I would
>> *not* recommend that anyone who didn't already know IRAF
>> bother
>> to learn it at this point. Going straight to Python is a 
>> MUCH easier learning curve.
>> cheers,
>> Vicki Laidler
>I assume you mean learning PyRAF (in addition to learning Python) instead of learning IRAF.  But wouldn't one benefit in their use of PyRAF to know "a thing or two" about IRAF?

Actually, no, I didn't mean learning PyRAF in addition to Python.

PyRAF is an alternative front-end to IRAF: you can use it instead
of the cl. Its purpose in life is pretty much to provide an
improved interface to IRAF tasks _plus_ everything you can get
from Python. Any new non-IRAF functionality being developed
here at STScI that is available through PyRAF is also distributed
separately as part of the stsci_python package.

If you don't need IRAF, then you don't need PyRAF. You can
work with a standard python interpreter, or ipython which a
lot of people prefer (though I don't), and use the various
python packages directly.

I would recommend that anyone who does need to learn IRAF at
this point do so through the PyRAF interface (I found IRAF 
absolutely impenetrable without PyRAF), but anyone who
doesn't need IRAF doesn't need PyRAF either.

Vicki Laidler

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