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Shipping the prototype

Let's promote scripting languages to the status they deserve

Jon Udell:“My point is that languages like Python, but also Perl, Ruby, and JavaScript/JScript/ActionScript/EcmaScript, are strategic in ways that we don’t yet fully acknowledge.”.

Exactly. I couldn’t agree more with Guido’s statement: “If you start writing in Java knowing as little as you did when you started writing the Python version, you’ll waste way more time exploring than actually building the system you’ll eventually build.”

As Jon says, Zope’s revolutionary architect, Jim Fulton get this. I’ve made several applications using Zope over the last 3 years. Many of them follow typical PHP style of re-factoring, and not even Zopisms or Pythonisms. Yes, developers constantly complain about having to think before typing away pages of code. Oh, also, they don’t have to type pages of code. Plus point is, once the system is live, very very few support calls or fixes were necessary. Typical methodology goes like rapid prototyping to set boundaries to customer’s expectations; followed by adding little plugs that makes prototype into production-ready system.

Shipping the prototype is a very viable option for IT departments in non-IT companies. You have no issues with your source code getting public. Languages that don’t need a compilation step to generate a separate run-time file reduces the need to have rock-solid configuration management. A good CVS setup with proper tagging would do just fine.

Additionally, it is very easy to fix burning issues right in the production machine and move it back to development machine and CVS. No need to spend extra money in maintaining identical development and production environments.

What can Python do for the Enterprise? “Python is an interpreted language, so developers do not have to compile an application to test it. Also, with some caveats, an application written in Python should run equally well on any platform. ”

via Daily Python URL.

  1. Of course the annoying part is usually setting up a runtime environment for the scripting language. Windows users aren't particularly interested in setting up Python/Ruby/whatever for one program. I suppose the enterprise environment is a bit different in that respect though.. IT can have whatever environment already installed on workstations. I know from my little experience with Ruby, I can't see why anyone would want to make GUI programs in a lower language. I've been very impressed with how many features I could implement with so little problems compared to my C++ experience (good lord, I could never write proper code the first go-around in C++).

    Posted by: eliot on February 7, 2003 09:33 AM