[Numpy-discussion] matlab vs. python question

Christopher Barker Chris.Barker@noaa....
Wed Apr 25 13:24:47 CDT 2007

Neal Becker wrote:
> I'm interested in this comparison

There have got to be comparison's on the web -- google away!

My few comments:
> I happened to look on the matlab vendor's
> website, and found that it does have classes.

Matlab added classes in a fairly recent version, so technically, yes, it 
does support OO. However, OO aside, Python is, in many ways, are far 
more sophisticated and capable language. It is better suited to larger 
projects, and well suited to wide variety of software development, 
rather than just numerical work. Indeed, python+numpy supports more 
sophisticated numerical work too (more data types, etc).

So, my reasons for using python+numpy (I did my entire dissertation with 
Matlab -- I loved it at the time):

* Better, more flexible language.

* I can use it for other things I do: web programming, sophisticated 
GUIs, etc.

* It integrates well with lots of other libraries

* It's free: both $$ and libre

What's better about Matlab:

* A wider selection of out-of-the-box numerical routines.

* Excellent integration of command-line and plotting.

In short, $$ and freedom aside, I think Matlab provides a slightly more 
productive environment for interactive experimentation and quickie 
prototypes and scripts, but much less productive for larger projects, or 
for people that need to do non-numerical work too.

just my $0.2


Christopher Barker, Ph.D.

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