16th Oct 2007

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Blog :: Python Module of the Week

Doug Hellman's Python Module of the Week series has been uncanny at frequently highlighting modules just as I'm learning about them. As a relative Python newbie I have a lot to learn about the standard library. I've got the excellent Python in a Nutshell which has a good tour of the standard library but it's nice to have a module pop up in my rss feeds on a regular basis to keep me learning.

Recently Doug covered difflib which I just been exploring as part of a regression testing suite I put together for a legacy web app I maintain which has no other automated testing. I'd run into a roadblock using the junklines option of the various diff engines and left on comment on Doug's PyMOTW entry. Not only did he explain my conceptual error but he emailed me when he put up a response to make sure I saw it!

One of the things that has struck me as I've moved from primarily PHP work and interests to primarily Python interests (if not yet work) is the ways the communities are different. I anticipated that the Python community would be smarter and more Computer Science-y, for lack of a better term. This has definitely been true - the PHP community doesn't have anyone of the caliber of Guido - and even "lesser" lights in the Python firmament are impressive. Alex Martelli is one of the smarter people I've met, for instance, and I doubt there are many people in the PHP community with his breadth of research and applied software experience. I was a bit worried, however, that the Python community has a reputation for being a little a little ... stiff. After all, there should be one-- and preferably only one -- obvious way to do things! (Admittedly, this impression of stiffness may have been garnered from ROR bloggers.)

So far, at least, I haven't found this to be true at all. Doug is a great example - not only is he adding knowledge to the community  but he's going out of his way to be helpful and engaging to newbies like me.

Posted on Oct 16th 2007, 10:19 PM