Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Python. Savvy?

In 2010 my friend Aditya Duggal called me up and said "Have you seen this yet? Its called node.js". Aditya calling me up was rare and do I began to look in to nodeJS. As it turned out I was not a good enough programmer to have a go at NodeJS just yet but the underlying word called Python caught my eye.

What language was this with a snake for it's symbol? What sorcery had forced Aditya to love it? From a man who worshiped C to a man who liked Python Aditya had changed. I wanted to know why?To be truthful the hype got me hooked. What language is this that seems to pop up everywhere I look. I have not looked back since. More than the language I believe it is the community of Python which fuels it's growth. There is nothing more addictive than to have people who listen to you with rapt attention and solve all your problems. When the time comes to give back you no longer have to; you want to. Quickly learning the syntax and loving the fresh perspective to writing code I began to love python. Slowly my side projects started to shift to Python from C.

The next stone was the Cheese shop. It became clear that code in python unless carefully written grew large. With the ability to speedily write code comes the ability to write horrible demonic code. I first used the cheese shop when I began to look for ways to graph in python. Instead of writing my own I discovered the cheese shop. From then on I have rarely had to write my own code for anything. There are of course the odd projects which need a lot of custom code. With the Cheese Shop at my disposal work became easy.

There was a period of learning which accelerated my admiration and knowledge of the open source movement. This was when I discovered Internet Relay Chat. I was watching Fifth Estate and became curious. What were these people chatting on? It was most certainly not Facebook. It also looked cool. Hence I began to hunt around. IRC was found. The very next minute I was configuring Irssi and moving onto how Irssi works and how to chat in IRC. Initially it was confusing but slowly it all came together. It was beautiful. People I did not know and people who were famous developers. I could now talk to them.

Believe it or not the next big thing was GitHub. Strange as it seems I had not heard of version control at all before Git. GitHub was a boon. Code was easier to experiment with and people were easier to collaborate with. I no longer had to worry what would happen if my computer decided to crash and burn. With github I could easily collaborate and contribute. Up until then I was simply a leech on the goodwill of the community. With github I could help others.

Since Github I have not looked back. Python has now become my primary language of development. There is literally nothing I have not done with python. To anyone new to programming I recommend python due to it's relatively small learning curve. When one can write anything one wants in a language there comes freedom of expression. With freedom of expression comes the ability to create. With python I have had that ability. I can see things happening before I have written them.

Most of python's diamonds are in the documentation. If you are beginning to learn python and want a starting point I would suggest the documentation. The docs are what survive after nights of distilling information and processes.

Enjoy python while you can. Who knows how long this ecosystem will remain this good. We seem to have destroyed every other one. A great place to learn stuff is the IRC channels of python and the specific libraries it has. Usually I hang out at #Python and #django. Those are the ones I like. Lots of good discussions going on there. Since it is a chat it is more dynamic than the docs.

For a young and upcoming python developer, the three places to learn and github,docs and IRc.