The biggest issue, in my opinion, is in dependency management. Python has a horrible dependency management system, from top-to-bottom.
Why do I need to make a "virtual environment" to have separate dependencies, and then source it my shell?
Why do I need to manually add version numbers to a file?
Why isn't there any builtin way to automatically define a lock file (currently, most Python projects just don't even specify indirect dependency versions, many Python developers probably don't even realize this is an issue!!!!!)?
Why can't I parallelize dependency installation?
Why isn't there a builtin way to create a redistributable executable with all my dependencies?
Why do I need to have fresh copies of my dependencies, even if they are the same versions, in each virtual environment?
There is so much chaos, I've seen very few projects that actually have reproducible builds. Most people just cross their fingers and hope dependencies don't change, and they just "deal with" the horrible kludge that is a virtual environment.
We need official support for a modern package management system, from the Python org itself. Third party solutions don't cut it, because they just end up being incompatible with each other.
Example: if the Python interpreter knew just a little bit about dependencies, it could pull in the correct version from a global cache - no need to reinstall the same module over and over again, just use the shared copy. Imagine how many CPU cycles would be saved. No more need for special wrapper tools like "tox".
In the end, it needs to find the import in the PYTHONPATH, so there's no magic involved, and there are multiple robust options to choose from.
So instead of bashing Python for not shoveling down an opinion on you, it's up to the developers to choose which tools they want to use.
If they don't choose one and are unable to freeze their dependencies, it's not a Python problem, but IMO lack of skill and seniority.
The reason why Python gets extra criticism for this is because it likes to tell people that there should be one obvious way to do it and that it comes with batteries included yet it's dependency management system is just crap and doesn't follow that at all.
Are you saying “There’s more than one way to do it”?
Nothing to complaint as every language has their own set of good and bad. This is what makes it interesting, there is always a room to improve and make things better.
Python has always stood out for me as a particularly odd way of doing it. It feels a bit like more like C, but with a package manager that's not quite as nice as other scripting languages have.
It's good. Projects should use it.
868 lines, including os.rmtree calls and stuff.
Also installable via pip, but... "not recommended", and:
Poetry was not installed with the recommended installer.
Cannot update automatically.
It is not that long ago that PyPI hosted malicious (typo-squatting) packages: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15256121
"curl | bash" is a bad habit to get into. It works under certain circumstances, like making sure it's an SSL connection from a source you trust. But it's just a bad habit for the average person to get into.
(Poetry have done this, for what it's worth)
The point is that in reality you’re orders of magnitude more likely to be compromised by ads in your browser, an undetected flaw in legitimate code, or a compromised maintainer than GitHub having deployed custom infrastructure to target you. If you’re being target by a government, why would they do this instead of using the same TLS exploit to serve you a dodgy Chrome or OS update which is harder to detect and will work against 100% of targets?
How about this for a reason, where are the checksums when I’m curling and piping? How do I validate in an automated fashion the validity of this file I’m piping into an interpreter? When installing a package it’s quite easy to have redundant copies of an index with checksums pointing to a repository hosting the actual code. The attack surface is much smaller vs a curl | python
This is bad practice, stop promoting it or downplaying it’s security issues.
Edit: smaller instead of larger
> This is bad practice, stop promoting it or downplaying it’s security issues.
I’m trying to get you to do some security analysis focused on threats which are possible in this model but not the real alternatives (download and install, install from a registry like PyPI or NPM, etc.). So far we have “GitHub could choose to destroy their business”, which seems like an acceptable risk and about the same as “NPM could destroy their business”.
I am doing security analysis. If this file changes and I’m using it in built server images then I have no way of automatically validating the changes are good without doing the checksumming myself and managing this data. What we have is a server that can be hacked and the files are unable to be verified by checksum
If you install it via pip you need to update it via pip, the alternative would be insane. And the reason it's not recommended is that it doesn't let you use multiple Python versions, but if you're only using one version then installing by pip works fine.
And if you need "to create a redistributable executable with all your dependencies". You can either use pyinstaller  or nuitka  both of which are very actively maintained/developed and continually improving.
Frankly I’ve been burned enough that I won’t use any new packaging technology for Python because everyone thinks they’ve solved it, but once you’re invested you run into issues.
Anyone considering it for production usage should note that package installs in the current versions are much slower than pip or Pipenv. This might affect your CI/CD.
Looking at the home page it's not immediately obvious to me. For example, the lock file it creates seems to be the equivalent of writing `pip freeze` to the requirements file. I see a quick mention of isolation at the end, it seems to use virtual environments, does it make it more seamless? What's the advantage over using virtualenv for example?
So `poetry add` (it's version of pip install) doesn't require you to have the virtualenv active. It will activate it, run the install, and update your dependency specifications in pyproject.toml. You can also do `poetry run` and it will activate the virtualenv before it runs whatever shell command comes after. Or you can do `poetry shell` to run a shell inside the virtualenv.
I like the seamless integration, personally.
Is there anything wrong with pip freeze > requirements.txt and then pip install -r requirements.txt ? This would install the exact versions
pip-sync was then called to install it in given environment, any promotion from devint -> qa -> staging -> prod, was just copying the requirements.txt from environment earlier and calling pip-sync.
Then bar releases version 0.2.2
So your deps want bar 0.2.1,
but foo now wants bar 0.2.2
This breaks your pip install.
EDIT: there are a few other gotchas (please respond to this post if you know of any more)
e.g. from https://medium.com/knerd/the-nine-circles-of-python-dependen...
"If two of your dependencies are demanding overlapping versions of a library, pip will not necessarily install a version of this library that satisfies both requirements" e.g. https://github.com/pypa/pip/issues/2775
All of a sudden, a numpy release pulls in a new version for a pandas build (that incidentally breaks for py2)
This without involving a "~=", but rather because pandas needs to build from source, and chooses the latest numpy build to do so.
No they are not.
Pip freeze does not resolve transitive dependencies, nor does pip know what to do if your transitive dependencies conflict with each another.
I don't think this is correct:
$ python3 -m venv /tmp/v
$ /tmp/v/bin/pip install flask
Collecting MarkupSafe>=0.23 (from Jinja2>=2.10.1->flask)
$ /tmp/v/bin/pip freeze | grep MarkupSafe
This is true, but because Python exposes all libraries in a single namespace at runtime, there isn't actually anything reasonable to do if they genuinely conflict. You can't have both, say, MarkupSafe 1.1.1 and MarkupSafe 1.1.0 in PYTHONPATH and expect them to be both accessible. There's no way in an import statement to say which one you want.
However, it's notable that pip runs into trouble in cases where transitive dependencies don't genuinely conflict, too. See https://github.com/pypa/pip/issues/988 - this is a bug / acknowledged deficiency, and there is work in progress towards fixing it.
This would be fixable with a sys path hook, were pip so inclined
(Also it's not clear what those changed semantics would be.)
> remainder of the file as Ruby and not Python
That's a little excessive
Getting this right and reliable would be a) a considerable language design project in its own right and b) confusing to users of Python as it is documented, and in particular to people testing their modules locally without pip. It wouldn't be as drastically different a language as Ruby, but it would certainly be a different language.
How? Doesn't pip freeze literally list all packages that's installed in the current environment besides basic toolings such as setuptools (and you could even instruct it to list those as well)?
Ruby does the same thing with Gemfile.lock. npm does the same thing with package-lock.json.
pip isn't actually part of Python proper.
Node's dependency managers npm/yarn just copy the versioned dependencies from their cache folder into the local node_modules folder and remove transitive dependencies duplicates when possible by flattening them into node_modules.
So I spent 2 hours and rewrote it in Java 8 with Maven.
Issues all gone. Node has some work to do before I’ll consider touching it again.
there is no language that is devoid of shortcomings - so to any new (<3 yrs exp) python users, please ignore the above comment entirely as it has no bearing on anything practical that you are doing/will do. and all experienced python users know that there are ways to work around the shortcomings listed here and beyond.
this is my psa for the python community!
I personally would consider this to be a strictly worse comment because it does not go into detail about what’s lacking like the parent comment does.
>there is no language that is devoid of shortcomings
So we should just silence all criticism like a dictatorship?
>as it has no bearing on anything practical that you are doing/will do.
Are you saying no python user has to deploy their application ever? If that's what you really mean then your comment is just pure trolling.
What "personal issues" do you think the author has? The frustrated tone comes from the frustrations the author explicitly outlines; unless you think this shouldn't be so, you are turning this into an ad-hom.
> the entire comment could have just been 1 line "We need official support for a modern package management system, from the Python org itself."
Why? because you don't appreciate the detail on why we need such a thing? These issues certainly get in the way of producing production apps; not in the sense that they make it impossible, but they make the process harder and slower than it needs to be.
Once your project is setup, dependency management is what you do once in two weeks perhaps. Rest is just writing code.
The same issues exist in C, C++, Java and nobody seems to be complaining about those at the same volume.
This is why it doesn't seem so bad if you're programming in those languages.
Poetry is not the most used (or known) dependency management in Python.
What needs to happen is standardization - this has been done in java because of it's maturity. There's almost no java project that isn't using the standard maven dependency management (even projects that don't use maven, such as gradle projects, would use maven dependency management, and export themselves as an artifact usable via maven).
First of all, Poetry locks every dependency (even transitive ones) to the version you know works. This solves the problem of the project not using dependency management properly.
Secondly, setup.py allows you to specify your dependencies there, so most libraries use and specify that, which means that that isn't that much of a problem in Python. Sure, sometimes it is, but I haven't run into that particular problem very often.
(To be fair, modifying it to use venv is... non-trivial).
If you look at the issues section in its github repo, you'll see that there are some pretty basic bugs there which are very annoying or disruptive. Moreover it seems the author has almost left the boat and a handful of contributors have to tidy things up.
Just to illustrate my point. I think a package manager that takes a few minutes to install a single tiny package, or don't prevent you from adding non-existing packages (e.g. spelling mistake), or doesn't let you install a new package without trying to upgrade all other packages isn't really production-ready. These are known issues since November last year.
Let's take an example:
pipenv install oslo.utils==1.4.0
Could not find a version that matches pbr!=0.7,!=2.1.0,<1.0,>=0.6,>=2.0.0
Dependency hell is everywhere.
Excuse me, but as a long time Python user I have to disagree. I started using Rust two years ago and Rust’s dependency managment is easily the best thing I ever saw (keep in mind that I didn’t see everything, so there is a chance there are better things out there).
The project-/dependency-manager Cargo¹ is more “pythonic” than anything Python ever came up with and where others mumbled ”dependency hell is everywhere” the Rust people seem to have thought something like: ”there must be a way to do this properly”.
The whole thing gives me hope for Python, but angers me everytime I start a new python project. Poetry is good, but there should be an official way to do this.
It saddens me to see, that some people seem to just have given up on dependency managment alltogether and declared it unsolvable (which it is not, and probably never has been).
Cargo, though, has a silver bullet. If it can't find a solution to determine a single version for a package, it simply includes more than one version in the object code. That would take a lot of work to duplicate in Python.
Unfortunately, pip came along and took over, despite lacking support for that. It would have been nice if a better packaging tool had replaced easy_install, but alas.
- module A uses v1 and uses trait v1.A
- module B uses v2 and uses trait v2.A
- will be reported as "A does not implement trait A"
This is the other frustrating thing: there is this stockholm syndrome effect, because people are so used to dependency management being horrible, they think there are just no good dependency management systems, and they give up.
* From python for anything web + data science. Again, why not have your whole stack be in one language?
* From lack of hype. Rails is still evolving, but a lot of packages are not seeing releases (I have used packages 3-4 years old). This indicates to me that the energy isn't there in the community the way it used to be. I have seen the consultants who are always on the bleeding edge move on to elixir.
That said I have seen plenty of startups using ruby (really rails) and staffing when I hired for ruby wasn't an issue.
I do help run a local ruby meetup and attendance is good but not exceptional (15-40 people every month). So that may skew my viewpoint.
I’ve written an API once from scratch. Actually twice. First time in Modena, because it was all the hype, but it was arcane. Then Sinatra, where I ended up creating all of the above. Rails is excellent for APIs.
Rust is nice, but I’m not sure if I’d like it for all of an API. I don’t like go. Crystal seems great, because it’s typed and it’s also super fast.
With the rise in ML and data science over the past years, Python finally has a killer app that no other scripting languages come close to touching. I migrated completely from Ruby when I started dabbling in ML, Pandas, etc.
I used a different screen (having people make change based on an arbitrary amount, so if the input was 81, you'd return [25, 25, 25, 5, 1], as we were in the USA) and it was also helpful. I didn't track the number of people that it stymied though.
(I always feel weird talking about interview questions publicly, but honestly anyone who prepares that diligently deserves to go to the next stage. If anyone's reading this because they're preparing for an interview with me and I ask this question, just mention this comment and I'll be impressed.)
Wish there are more useful projects written in ruby :)
I had managed to get a job as a Java developer a long time ago, but at that time all I could do was barely write toy apps in Java and I had no exposure to stuff like design patterns. The whole experience left me in a bad place. Now after all these years, Ruby feels like a breath of fresh air, and the texts that I have come across on the subject - Design Patterns in Ruby, Practical OOD in Ruby, Ruby under a Microscope etc. have increased my interest in the language.
But more and more frequent articles on Ruby's decline are pretty disheartening.
In JS, which also has a single interpreter installed across the system (or multiple if you use nvm), the packages aren't installed "directly" into the interpreter, which removes the need for things like virtual-envs, thus making life a lot easier. I wish Python did something like this.
That being said, pipenv is making things easier. However, I think pipenv is a workaround more fundamental problems.
pip install -r requirements.txt --target=python_modules
PYTHONPATH=python_modules python myscript.py
EDIT: a question: when I have to use Python, I like to break up my code into small libraries and make wheel files for my own use. How do you handle your own libraries? Do you have one special local directory that you build wheel files to and then reference that library in your requirements.txt files?
We didn't build wheels. We had a centralized git host (Gitlab, but any of them works) with all our libraries, and just added the git url (git+https://...) to the requirements.txt
I have found that I would rather code my own versions of some libraries so I have control over it. Even if there is some extra long term maintenance and some up front dev costs, it's paid off already a number of times.
Why should Python have some "official" method to do this? Flexibility is a strength, not a weakness. Nobody ever suggests that C should have some official package manager. Instead the developers build a build system for their project. After a while every project seems to get its own unique requirements so trying to use a cookie-cutter system seems pointless.
"There should be one-- and preferably only one --obvious way to do it.": https://www.python.org/dev/peps/pep-0020/
Sometimes a 'benign dictator' single approach has benefits...
> nix-shell -p python3Packages.numpy python3Packages.my_important_package
It solves every problem you quoted before.
Poetry is python specific and does not solve the problems that pip/pypi has with native C/C++/Rust/etc modules.
Nix/guix solves all of that
The dependencies of such projects are easy to specify in Nix. Moreover, it's easy to reproduce the environment across machines by pinning nixpkgs to a specific version.
However a lot of the issues that you mentioned (such as lock file and transitive dependencies) can be handled by pipenv, which should be the default package manager
Yup, I love Python over my current language in my job(JS/TS).
But I really dislike handling conflicts using pip, requirements.txt and virtualenv.
So much so that I will take JS node_modules over it.
There is and it's called docker.
The other issues could indeed be fixed with something like poetry.
I seems to have some neat functionality wrt dep handling (and I'd never really heard of it before).
I agree, although a lot of it has to do that there's so much misinformation about the web, and many articles recommending bad solutions. This is because python went through many packaging solutions. IMO the setuptools one is the one that's most common and available by default. It has a weakness though, it started with people writing setup.py file and defining all parameters there. Because setup.py is actually a python program it encourages you to write it as a program and that creates issues, setuptools though for a wile had a declarative way to declare packages using setup.cfg file, you should use that and your setup.py should contain nothing more than a call to setup().
> Why do I need to make a "virtual environment" to have separate dependencies, and then source it my shell?
Because chances are that your application A uses different versions than application B. Yes this could be solved by allowing python to keep multiple versions of the same packages, but if virtualenv is bothering you you would like to count on system package manager to keep care of that, and rpm, deb don't offer this functionality by default. So you would once again have to use some kind of virtualenv like environment that's disconnected from the system packages.
> Why do I need to manually add version numbers to a file?
You don't have to, this is one of the things that there's a lot of misinformation about how to package application. You should create setup.py/cfg and declare your immediate dependencies, then you can optionally provide version _ranges_ that are acceptable.
I highly recommend to install pip-tools and use pip-compile to generate requirements.txt, that file then works like a lock file and it is essentially picking the latest versions within restrictions in setup.cfg
> Why isn't there any builtin way to automatically define a lock file (currently, most Python projects just don't even specify indirect dependency versions, many Python developers probably don't even realize this is an issue!!!!!)?
Because Python is old (it's older than Java) it wasn't a thing in the past.
> Why can't I parallelize dependency installation?
Not sure I understand this one. yum, apt-get etc don't parallelize either because it's prone to errors? TBH I never though of this as an issue, because python packages are relatively small and it installs quickly. The longest part was always downloading dependencies, but caching solves that.
> Why isn't there a builtin way to create a redistributable executable with all my dependencies?
Some people are claiming that python has a kitchen sink and that made it more complex, you're claiming it should have even more things built in, I don't see a problem, there are several solutions to package it as an executable. Also it is a difficult problem to solve, because Python also works on almost all platforms including Windows and OS X.
> Why do I need to have fresh copies of my dependencies, even if they are the same versions, in each virtual environment?
You don't you can install your dependencies in system directory and configure virtualenv to see these packages as well, I prefer though to have it completly isolated from the system.
> There is so much chaos, I've seen very few projects that actually have reproducible builds. Most people just cross their fingers and hope dependencies don't change, and they just "deal with" the horrible kludge that is a virtual environment.
Not sure what to say, it works predictable to me and I actually really like virtualenv
> We need official support for a modern package management system, from the Python org itself. Third party solutions don't cut it, because they just end up being incompatible with each other.
setuptools with declarative setup.cfg is IMO very close there.
> Example: if the Python interpreter knew just a little bit about dependencies, it could pull in the correct version from a global cache - no need to reinstall the same module over and over again, just use the shared copy. Imagine how many CPU cycles would be saved. No more need for special wrapper tools like "tox".
There is a global cache already and pip utilizes it even withing an virtualenv. I actually never needed to use tox myself. I think most of your problems is that there are a lot of bad information about how to package a python app. Sadly even the page from PPA belongs there.
I think people should start with this: https://setuptools.readthedocs.io/en/latest/setuptools.html#...
Yes it still has some of the problems you mentioned, but it fixes some others.
Facebook has an interesting talk about how much electricity 1% performance improvement saves.
If it is trying to process ML data, or running in some cloud provider, or deployed in some IoT device supposed to run for years without maintenance, then maybe yes.
And precisely, for ML code all python libraries run extremely optimized natively compiled code. The language overhead is a minimal consideration. And for business domain code language performance is rarely the limiting factor.
Are you suggesting that accounting only cares about the AWS bill but not at all about the salary of developers?
Includig a couple that are as dynamic as Python.
1. What is the impact of a continuous long-running process? That is, if instead of trying to calculate a result and then shut down, I'm running a web server 24/7, what's the impact of an interpreted language over a compiled language? (Assume requests are few and I'm happy with performance with either.) This not models web servers but things like data science workloads where one wants to conduct as much research as possible, so a faster language will just encourage a researcher to submit more jobs.
2. According to https://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gases-equivalencies-ca... , 1 megawatt-hour of fossil fuels is 1559 pounds of carbon dioxide. The site you link calculates an excess of 2245 joules for running their test programs, which is approximately .001 pounds of carbon dioxide, or roughly what a human exhales in half a minute. (Put another way, if using the interpreted language saved even one minute of developer time, it was a net win for the carbon emissions of the program.)
OK so you're asking about steady-state electricity consumption of a process that's idling? I would bet that it's still lower for a more energy-efficient language, but let's say purely for the sake of argument that they're both at parity, let's say (e.g.) 0. Now what happens when they both do one unit of work, e.g. one data science job? Suppose you're comparing C and Python. C is indexed at 1 by Table 4, and Python at 75.88. So even ignoring runtime, the Python version is 75 times more power-hungry than the baseline C. And this is for any given job.
> a faster language will just encourage a researcher to submit more jobs.
Sure, that's a behavioural issue. It's not a technical issue so I can't give you a technical solution to that one. Wider roads will lead to more traffic over time. What people will need to realize is that if they're doing science, shooting jobs at the server and 'seeing what sticks' is not a great way to do it. Ideally they should put in place processes that require an experimental design–hypothesis, test criteria, acceptance/rejection level, etc.–to be able to run these kinds of jobs.
> if using the interpreted language saved even one minute of developer time, it was a net win for the carbon emissions of the program
I don't understand, what does a developer's time/carbon emission have to do with the runtime energy efficiency of a program? They are two different things.
Sure, but they don't, and perhaps that's a much bigger issue than interpreted vs. compiled languages - either for research workloads or for commercial workloads. People start startups all the time that end up failing, traveling to attract investors, flying people out to interview them, keeping the lights on all night, heading to an air-conditioned home and getting some sleep as the sun is rising, etc. instead of working quietly at a 40-hour-a-week job. What's the emissions cost of that?
> I don't understand, what does a developer's time/carbon emission have to do with the runtime energy efficiency of a program? They are two different things.
This matters most obviously for research workloads. If the goal of your project is "Figure out whether this protein works in this way" or "Find the correlation between these two stocks" or "See which demographic responded to our ads most often," then the cost of that project (in any sense - time, money, energy emissions) is both the cost of developing the program you're going to run and actually running it. This is probably most obvious with time: it is absolutely not worth switching from an O(n^2) algorithm to an O(n) one if that shaves two hours off the execution time and it takes you three hours to write the better algorithm (assuming the code doesn't get reused, of course, but in many real-world scenarios, the better algorithm takes days or weeks and it shaves seconds or minutes off the execution time). Development time and runtime are two different things - for instance, you can't measure development time in big-O notation in a sensible way - but they're definitely both time.
Developers continue breathing even when they aren't programming.
When talking about the footprint of a company or a project, then you need to restrict the calculations to the resources they actually use. So if a project uses tools to get a product out quicker that means they’ve spend less human-hours, which have a co2 cost associated with them. Then you can weigh the cost of that tool versus the Human Resources both in a financial sense but also with respect to emissions.
IF you do not have a language, or know Python a bit, then pick Python. Here are some of the reasons why I stick to Python (young startup/web APIs):
- OOPs is not too strict (might give a headache to some folks)
- Mixins, lambda, decorators, comprehensions - Pythonic ways make me feel productive easily
- Create a data Model, drop into a shell, import and try things
- Can do that on a live server
- Do the same with Controllers, or anything else actually
- really nothing fancy needed
- Command line processing, SSH, OS integration, etc. has so many great libs
- Python Dict someone looks like JSON (this is purely accidental but useful)
- Debugger support even in free IDE like PyCharm Community Ed is great
- Integration to a world of services is so easy, even ones you do not commonly see
- Documentation - many libs have consistent structure and that helps a LOT
- Really large community, perhaps only smaller than Java
- The even larger group of people using Python in all sorts of domains from Biotech to OS scripts
Are you saying this as a general maxim (don't try to learn a new tech under pressure) or because of characteristics specific to Python, that make it worse in such a situation than any other language/ecosystem?
I am not a high IQ person to even grip some of the nitty-gritty underpinnings of a language. But should that stop me from building a product?
In the end, I need a language that is easy to pick-up, be productive, has its heart in the right place. A young Python programmer can web scrap easily or plug into Ansible or so many other things. If you know of another language that would make more practical sense and still be easy to pick-up, I would switch.
Differences in languages themselves, I'm sure you can get used to and is far easier to cope with than lack of decent lib/tool/googleability.
I try to be a good sport about it, but every time I write python I want to quit software engineering. It makes me angry how little it values my time. It does little for my soured disposition that folks then vehemently lecture me about the hours saved by future barely-trained developers who will ostensibly have to come and work with my code. Every moment working with python (and that infernal pep-8 linter insisting 80 characters is a sensible standard in 2019) increases my burnout by 100x.
I try to remind myself that we're trying to make the industry less exclusive and more welcoming to new developers and "old" isn't necessarily "good" (in fact, probably the opposite), but damn I just don't understand it.
It used to be that I could focus on other languages (Erlang, Nemerle, F#, Haskell, Ocaml, even C++) and sort of balm myself. But now, I can't even overcome the sinking feeling as I read the Julia statistics book that I'm going to be dragged back to Python kicking and screaming in the morning, so why even bother?
And frustratingly: it's one of the few languages with decent linear algebra libraries. And that means it's one of the few languages with good ML and statistics support. So it's very hard not to use it because when you want to cobble together something like a Bayesian model things like PyMC or Edward actually give you performance that's obnoxiously difficult to reproduce.
This is what the industry wants and evidently a lot of people are okay with it, but to me it's misery and I can't work out why people seem to like it so much.
I hate it.
It has an ok object system which is possibly its only redeeming quality. I found Racket about 4 years ago, and any new project that I work on will be in Racket or CL.
I could go on at length about the happy path mentality of python and the apologists who are too ignorant of other people's use cases to acknowledge that maybe there might be some shortcomings.
The syntactic affordances are awful and you can footgun yourself in stupidily simple ways when refactoring code between scopes. Python isn't really one language it is more like 4, one for each scope and type of assignment or argument passing, and all the sytactic sugar just makes it worse.
Not to mention that packaging is still braindead. I actually learned the Gentoo ebuild system because pip was so unspeakably awful the moment you stepped away from the happy path.
Blub blub blub, someone help I'm drowning in mediocrity.
I think you need to look at it historically. Against other languages circa 2000, Python was a huge win. Easy to write (compared to C), consistent (compared to PHP), minimalist (compared to Perl), multi-paradigm and playing well with C (compared to Java), with a great standard library (compared to Lisp).
Today, the landscape is very different. Lot of languages took hints from and got influenced by Python (including Racket I am sure). Functional languages have taken off. Type inference is a standard feature.
History is always changing. There is some potential for a next Python, but we don't know what it will look like yet. I suspect it will be functional, but I don't think it will be in the Lisp family. It probably won't happen until after Rust and/or Julia get lot more adopted. Anyway, just like C, Python will be with us for decades to come, for better or worse.
What I am missing from Perl is library documentation and MetaCPAN. It seems that the go-to solution is that you're meant to create some kind of damn mini-site for any even vaguely complicated project you do using Sphinx, which seems bizarro land. Also the _requests_ documentation looks like it was written by Wes Anderson and wtf I hate it. Also I hate that all libraries have cute rather than descriptive names; yes there's some of that in Perl, but it feels like less. Bah humbug. Other than that it's fine.
Static, portable binaries on Linux are hard.
You have a container that will run anywhere, but it has a bigger attack surface and needs updates.
I also would disagree that it's easier than using virtual environments for development, and only for packaging in some narrow use cases.
Linux backwards-compatibility is pretty good, in that a static binary should run just fine on newer systems. I've had far worse experiences with OpenBSD, where a build on an older version of the OS would never seem to run on a newer system.
That’s why it can’t be an afterthought. It must be baked into the language as part of the design (golang)
And packages. I thought I was just stupid, but thankfully there was more to it.
Can you be more specific about how it increases your burnout? Is it the language, or someone forcing you to use that linter and settings?
It's definitely both.
Preface in true internet style: these are just opinions and you may not share them. That's fine.
I really don't like Python as a language. I don't like its total lack of composability. I don't like its over-reliance on a very dated vision of OO. I don't like how its list comprehensions aren't generic. I don't like how it farms all its data structures out to C. I don't like how it uses cruddy one line lambdas and forces me to name things that are already named by the things I'm passing it to.
And also the linter just exacerbates these things, because the linter is just a crystallized slice of a kind of software engineering culture I really don't like.
Like I said, it’s not the perfect language, it does not have Erlang’s pattern matching nor Lisp’s insistence on thinking about almost everything in a recursive manner, but you can at least mentally try to incorporate those two philosophies into Python once you know about them (and once you know about other similar such great programming concepts).
a = [x for x in stuff if x > 1]
a = list(x for x in stuff if x > 1)
a = MyCustomCollection(x for x in stuff if x > 1)
Python iteration is generic.
Please don't spread FUD.
> That's an implementation detail of CPython. I don't see how it's important for a language user either. Jython uses Java objects. PyPy uses RPython.
This strengthens my point though?
> Please don't spread FUD.
This is that culture thing I'm talking about.
> This is that culture thing I'm talking about.
You made a false claim. You referred to Python iteration as not generic, when what you really meant is that Python lacks first class monad support.
If you want a monadic programming model, you're not going to be a happy camper in the Python world. But I doubt that comes as a surprise.
If Python is so great how come it can't even express a decent data structure that it needs? I'll happily level the same criticism at Ruby if you like.
> You made a false claim.
Firstly: This is not High School Debate Club. There isn't some kind of point system. Language and expectations like this are not only counterproductive (in that they essentially turn every conversation into a series of verbal ripostes in which the goal is to be most right rather than *learn the most) they're also tedious and unwelcome.
> You referred to Python iteration as not generic,
I did not. I said list comprehensions weren't generic, and then I tried to explain my complaint. It may be that someone has done a legendary feat of going through and creating a bunch of mixins for some of the gaps in the list comprehension coverage such that you can find some way to override how non-determinism is expressed. If so, please point me to it.
Why is this a requirement of a "great" language? By not requiring a language to be self-hosting, you are adding more degrees of freedom to your language's design, so I could even see an argument that writing it in C is an improvement. I don't necessarily agree with that, but I don't see why cpython written in C implies it is a bad language. Maybe you could elucidate your thinking?
Why do you think that? Languages/runtimes with high C integration and fairly exposed C bowels like Python and Ruby have, over time, turned out to be very hard to evolve compatibly.
Because it's a fact? With cpython you can develop things in python if that suits you or C if that suits you. You have more freedom to choose what fits your use case. I'm not saying this is necessarily good, but I don't think it's obviously bad. I'd like to hear from people who think it's the case.
> Languages/runtimes with high C integration and fairly exposed C bowels like Python and Ruby have, over time, turned out to be very hard to evolve compatibly.
That is true, but it's also arguably one of the reasons cpython became so popular in the first place. The ability to write C-extensions when appropriate has been very powerful. It's certainly caused issues, but I think if python didn't have exposed bowels it may never have become nearly as popular. What if numpy wasn't ever written? (This isn't to say that they couldn't have exposed a better C-api with fewer issues, but hindsight is 20/20...)
Who gets to be the language police? I'm fine with "High School Debate" but "verbal ripostes in which the goal is to be most right rather than learn the most" is not an accurate description of that.
But I won't engage with someone who does this the same way, because they're not engaging me as a human. Unless, of course, they're already dehumanizing me (as occasionally happens on this website) and then I don't feel quite so bad about it.
I'm sure you know this is a deliberate design choice/tradeoff. It's arguably turned out to be a bit of a millstone for languages that eventually want to grow up to be general-purpose-ish, but that wasn't as obvious at the time.
I remember having similar conversations with the creator of Io and seeing the Pike mailing list have similar concerns. Hindsight is 20/20.
Are you really that lacking in self-awareness that you responded to someone annoyed about programming culture by going full "debate with logic, facts and reason" mode?
If you're having a burnout because the PR you just opened are being rejected by the linter you probably just make the linter apply the modifications automatically in pipeline.
We used to hate the linter checks in my current workplace because it was really boring to fix the issues. Now the CI simple fix them, and nobody cares anymore.
I believe Python is quite possibly the best language for a few things
* Exploratory programming - such as what data scientists do
* Writing programs that will never grow beyond 150LOC, or roughly what fits on a screen + one page down
When I have those two constraints met I am almost always choosing Python.
Here are some problems I face on codebases as they scale up:
* Python conventions lead to what I consider bad code. Devs will often choose things like 'patch' over dependency injection, and I have seen on multiple occasions projects derided for providing DI based interfaces - "oh, why would you write code that looks like Java? This is Python".
There's a lot of death by a thousand cuts. Keyword args in functions are abused a lot, because they're "easy", ability to patch at runtime means it's often "easy" to just write what looks like a simple interface, but it's then harder to test. Inheritance is "easy" and often leads to complex code where behaviors are very, very non-local.
Dynamic types mean that people are often a little too clever with their data. I've seen APIs that return effectively `Union[NoneType, Item, List[Item]]` for absolutely no semantic reason, without type annotations, meaning that if you assumed a list or none came back you were missing the single Item case. The implementation actually internally always got a list back from the underlying query but decided to special case the single item case... why? I see this sort of thing a bit, and other languages punish you for it (by forcing you to express the more complex type).
* I find myself more and more leveraging threads these days. I did this often with C++, and all the time in my Rust code. Python punishes you for threading. The GIL makes things feel atomic when they aren't, reduces you to concurrency, all while paying the cost of an OS thread. Threading primitives are also quite weak, imo, and multiprocessing is a dead end.
And, really, Python is anti-optimization, which is a good and bad thing, but it's a bit extreme.
* Implicit exceptions everywhere. I see 'raise Exception' defensively placed in every Python codebase because you never know when a piece of code will fail. I see a lot of reliance on 'retry decorators' that just catch everything because you never know if an error is transient or persistent.
The common "don't use exceptions for control flow" is broken right off the bat with StopIteration. I just think error handling in Python is god awful, really.
* Mypy is awesome, but feels like a bit of a hack. The type system is great, and in theory it would solve many problems, but coverage is quite awful in open source projects and the type errors I get are useless. I actually only use mypy to make my IDE behave, I don't run it myself, because my types are actually technically unsound and the errors are too painful to work with (and honestly the type system is quite complex and hard to work with, not to mention the bugs).
There are lots of other smaller issues, such as my distaste for pip, py2/3 breakage, lack of RAII, the insane reliance on C all over the place, I think syntax is bad in a lot of places (lambdas, whitespace in general), etc but these are probably my main sticking points with using the language for large projects.
Again, Python is actually my favorite language for specific tasks, but I really think it's best optimized for small codebases.
That's not an idiom python has ever subscribed to though, it's always subscribed to the "Better to ask forgiveness than permission" - I think there are strengths to both viewpoints, but honestly I think "don't use exceptions for control flow" is more of a convention that a "truth"
In absolute terms or when coding on paper, perhaps. But in the real world and if performance even remotely matters, it’s as close to a universal rule all languages end up embracing or turning into creaking hulks of slow code given how exceptions work in practice at the level of cpu execution units.
C#/IL/.NET embraced excerpts heavily at around the same time (start of the 2000s) but in time developers (in and out of Microsoft) learned the hard way that it doesn’t scale. With .NET core, exceptions for flow control are completely verboten and APIs have been introduced to provide alternatives where missing. Exceptions should be so rare if you chart all handled exceptions, you shouldn’t see any and would thoroughly explore why one or more pop up when a system or dependency hasn’t exploded.
Exceptions have two core properties: (1) non-local jump (carrying a value) and (2) dynamic binding of place to jump to. Contrast this with e.g. break / continue in loops where (2) does not hold. If most use cases of performant OCaml exceptions were not making use of (2) that would be an interesting insight for programming language design.
Have you got data on this matter?
let modify_opt a f l =
let rec aux p = function
|  ->
(match f None with
| None -> raise Exit
| Some v -> rev ((a,v)::p))
| (a',b)::t when a' = a ->
(match f (Some b) with
| None -> rev_append p t
| Some b' -> rev_append ((a,b')::p) t)
| p'::t ->
aux (p'::p) t
try aux  l with Exit -> l
That's, as you say, a statically scoped fast exit. One does not need the full power of exceptions for this (exceptions'd dynamic binding comes with a cost). If exceptions are widely used for this purpose, one might consider adding a nicely structured goto to the language. Something like linear delimited continuations?
For instance, the basic stream/iterator in Ocaml is Enum, which always uses an exception to signal when the stream has been exhausted, rather than providing a "has_next" predicate.
The catch site of this exception is dynamic.
Having ported some decently large codebases from OCaml to F#, the heavy use of exceptions in OCaml (where exceptions are very lightweight by design) had to be changed to normal control flow with monads to achieve good performance in F# — specifically because of .NET’s slow exception handling.
Python explicitly does not agree with this...
The same for a lot of your other complaints. It sounds like you are trying to write some other language in Python. Similarly if someone in a team using Java tried writing Python in Java they would complain a lot and end up with ugly hard to work with Java.
I think StopIteration is being removed. That was a a bad idea.
In fact, the Python developers recently doubled-down on the design by introducing `StopAsyncIteration`.
PEP 479 is specifically related to generators:
> If a StopIteration is about to bubble out of a generator frame, it is replaced with RuntimeError, which causes the next() call (which invoked the generator) to fail, passing that exception out. From then on it's just like any old exception.
OK, I'm willing to contend that that is the case. It doesn't have much to do with my overall issue with error handling.
> The same for a lot of your other complaints. It sounds like you are trying to write some other language in Python. Similarly if someone in a team using Java tried writing Python in Java they would complain a lot and end up with ugly hard to work with Java.
This is a very loose criticism of my post, I don't know how to respond to this. I've written Python for years, I think I gave it due credit for what it's good at.
I am not trying to write some other language with Python, I just think Python is not a very good language compared to others given a lot of fairly typical constraints.
I've written Python for years, I think I gave it due credit for what it's good at.
I'm not sure how fair this assessment is, considering the multitude of Python projects of considerable size and scope.
It would be very silly for me to say that you can't build large systems in Python, I've worked on plenty that are much larger myself.
Saying a language is possibly the best for two important use cases (exploration, small programs) is quite a statement, in my opinion. I don't think I believe that there's a language that excels so well in, say, building web services.
Whats the convincing argument for defending this? Ive always heard its just the way python is. Through experience using exceptions for anything other then exceptional situations and errors seems messy.
Imagine you are working through a series of EDI files and trying to post them to a badly documented Rest(ish) API of some enterprise system. If the file is bad (for whatever reason) you need to log the exception and put the file in a bad directory.
Pythons use of exceptions for control flow is perfect for this. If file doesn't load for whatever undocumented reason, revert back to log and handle the fallout.
"Oh I see a pattern, this API doesn't like address lines over 40 characters, I will add a custom exception to make the logging clearer, and go and try and see if I can fix this upstream. If not I will have to write some validation"
It is this dirty world of taking some other systems dirty data and posting it to some other systems dirty API that I find Python rules.
I have never worked on a large application where I owned the data end-to-end. Maybe there are better choices than Python for that?
That said, the amount of cpu cycles wasted even with best of breed pandas is insane, and when you want to do something “pythonic” on big data it all falls down. When you want to deploy that model you are also going to have problems.
That said, it’s still the best tool for the job, but it’s certainly not because of the creators of Python.
Python without type annotations can be painful in an IDE - it chokes a lot on those features.
Since I don't take a very type driven approach to Python (it would be too slow since I'd have to figure out 3rd party library types and shit like that) I just write annotations in places where I personally know the type. Mypy complains about this for various reasons - probably because my annotations are not technically correct, because I'm not a pro at generics in mypy and working out inheritance, as well as general mypy issues like poor support for class methods and that sort of thing.
But I ignore all of those errors because the IDE can still work things out.
I see the point that python invites these anti patterns.
But on the other hand, a software developer that returns Union(list[item], item]) in Python is probably also going to mess up a Java program sooner or later.
Why is multiprocessing a dead end?
The overhead obviously is still there, but the interface is a drop in replacement for threadpoolexecutor, which looks basically just like a multithreaded/async/future-based collect.
To communicate across mp you use pickle, which is a pretty significant performance impact relative to something like threading. There's also the issue of copy on write memory + reference counting interacting poorly.
I suspect this is the root cause of the difference in our experiences. My uses of mp have usually been somewhat more "embarrassingly parallel", for instance having a list of data elements which need to be processed with the same algorithm. For this use case, the usage of mp is pretty simple, often only a `pool.map(f, xs)`.
I can imagine that pickle might have tricky edge cases and/or be slow.
a) All reference counts after the fork are going to cause a copy of memory, so any memory access (even a read) can trigger a copy.
b) Even to send 'xs' over you must serialize it via pickle, and then the callee must deserialize it
That may be fine for your use case but it's strictly worse than just sharing a reference across a thread.
1) No pattern matching. In 2019, this is just unacceptable. Pattern matching is so fundamental to good FP style that without it, it becomes almost impossible to write good and clean code.
2) Statement vs expression distinction. There’s no need for this and it just crippled the language. Why can’t I use a conditional inside an assignment? Why can’t I nest conditions inside other functions? It makes no sense and is stupid and inelegant.
3) Related to 2), why do I need to use a return statement? Just return the last expression like many other (better) languages
4) Bad and limited data structures. In Python all you get are arrays, hashmaps, sets. And only sets have an immutable version. This is unacceptable. Python claims to be “batteries included” but if you look at the Racket standard library it has like 20x more stuff and it’s all 100x better designed. In Scala you get in the standard library support for Lists, Stacks, Queues, TreeMaps, TreeSets, LinearMaps, LinearSet, Vectors, ListBuffers, etc.
5) Embarrassing performance. Python is so slow it’s shameful. I wrote a compiler and some interpreters in college and I honestly think I could create a similar language 10x faster than Python. Sometimes you need to trade off performance and power, but that’s not even the case with Python: it’s an order of magnitude slower than other interpreted languages (like Racket).
6) Missing or inadequate FP constructs. Why are lambdas different from a normal function? Why are they so crippled? Why do they have a different conditional syntax? The only sort of FP stuff Python has is reduce/filter/map. What about flatMap, scanr, scanl, foldl, foldr? Or why doesn’t Python have flatten? All of these are very useful and common operations and Python just makes everyone write the same code over and over again.
7) No monads. Monads can be used for exceptions, futures, lists, and more. Having to manually write some try catch thing is unseemly and worse than the monadic Haskell or Scala approach.
8) No threads and no real single process concurrency. Despite Python being used a lot, no one really seems to care about it. How can such a problem not be solved after over 20 years? It’s shameful and makes me wonder about the skill of Guido. There’s no reason why Python couldn’t have turned into something beautiful like Racket, but instead it has been held back by this grumpy old guy who is stuck in the past.
9) Others might not have a problem with this, but I detest Python’s anything can happen dynamic typing. It makes reasoning about code difficult and it makes editor introspections almost impossible. If I can’t know the exact type of every variable and the methods attached to it, it hampers my thinking a lot. I use Python for data science and if I could just have a language that was compiled and had static typing I would be 3x as productive.
Let me conclude by saying there currently is one good reason to use Python: if the domain is ML/DL/quant/data science Python is still the undisputed king. The libraries for Python are world class: scipy, sklearn, pandas, cvxpy, pytorch, Kerala, etc.
But Julia is catching up very fast and the people I have talked to are getting ready to ditch Python in 2-3 years for Julia. I don’t think I’ve encountered anyone who didn’t prefer Julia to Python.
I don't know why 80 characters is a problem. I don't use the linter but I enforce this rule religiously with a couple of exceptions (long strings comes to mind). It forces me to think heavily about the structure of the code I'm writing. If I'm nesting so deeply, something has gone wrong. If I've got a ton of chained methods or really lengthy variables, it forces me to rethink them.
This also has the advantage of being able to put 4 files next to each other with full visibility. Vertical space is infinite, horizontal space isn't. It's probably a good idea to use it.
That said, we usually just go with autoformatting via black, which is 120 by default. No more hassle manually formatting code to be pep8-compliant. Just have black run as a commit hook, which is super easy via pre-commit . And you can run the pre-commit checks during CI to catch situations where somebody forgot to install the hooks or discovered `--no-verify`.
Can't really imagine developing Python without Black any more.
EDIT: Sounds like the Black author agrees. "You can also increase it, but remember that people with sight disabilities find it harder to work with line lengths exceeding 100 characters. It also adversely affects side-by-side diff review on typical screen resolutions. Long lines also make it harder to present code neatly in documentation or talk slides."
We're still using the community edition of SonarQube  for inspection but Black finally did away with the constant bikeshedding over formatting minutia, seems like it's saving us tons of time.
Same deal when it comes to reviewing PRs in GitHub. Wrapping just interrupts flow for me.
I feel the complete opposite. I really enjoy working with python over any other language. R does linear models and time series better and matlab has its charm, but overall I prefer python. Python is so easy to read and quick to program in. I am so glad I am not in the Java/C++ world anymore, but I know people in different roles have to deal with different issues.
I assume you mean, "over any other language I have tried" ?
As someone with a mathematical background myself, I am always surprised at how many data scientists and quants are ignoring more mathematically principled languages like F#, OCaml and Haskell.
Can I quickly prototype a new deep learning model and scale it to a 32 GPU cluster with very little effort in those languages?
What does it mean? Have you done it in any of those language? Have you seen it done in any of those languages?
I did. I'm doing a image processing recently and use OCaml for prototyping. I've tried python (I've used it a lot for that long time ago), I've failed, it felt to awkward. I've described my experience here 
If you have no experience whatsoever with ML family , and doing all the stuff in python, you'll most likely be much more productive with python of course.
But I find ML-like languages way more pleasant, and I'm far more productive with libraries like owl , which are more fundamental and don't have fancy stuff, and ML, rather than with python and fancy lib like numpy/scipy.
Also Julia could be a good choice hitting a sweet spot between fancy libraries and fancy language.
If the answer is “no”, then it does not matter whether I’m an OCaml expert, because I’m still going be more productive with Python.
p.s. Julia is nice though, hopefully it will keep growing.
Which is of course a fair point. A language by itself is probably not even in the top 3 considerations when choosing new tech. Stuff like runtime, ecosystem and the amount of available developers would probably be more important in most cases.
Totally depends on a domain. In serious mission critical software you wont use libraries, but will use the language.
Because C++ and C are significantly better than Nim and Crystal.
There are also Ada and Spark and aerospace and very critical stuff.
> just don't find developers who know them easily
We don't look for OCaml/Ada developers, we hire programmers, and they program OCaml and Ada. It's not a big deal for a good programmer to learn a language, especially while programming side by side with seasoned programmers.
In my 6 years with Python, the only dissatisfaction with the language I felt was from parallel programming. I switched to Python from C, and at the time, I missed C transparency and control over the machine, but that was compensated by the Python conciseness and convenience. Then I had to dig into C++ and I didn't like it at all. Then I played with CUDA and OpenMP, and Cilk+, but I wished all that would be natively available in a single, universal language. Then I started using Theano, then Tensorflow, and now I'm using Pytorch, and am more or less happy with it. It suits my needs well. If something else emerges with a clear advantage, I'll switch to it, but I'm not seeing it yet.
As a bonus, it IS Python (numpy) in the background mixed with Scala. So you can use each language where they make the most sense - Python for the maths number crunching and Scala for the business logic and the architecture.
I think Spark also has .net bindings (so you can also tick F# on that list...).
There are a lot of reasons why this is.
-- stack --resolver lts-6.25 script --package turtle
When you don't have such function, you need an expressive language to write it (and a bulk of python libs are not written in python, tho mostly for the performance reasons).
So it's all about finding a sweet spot between fancy libraries which do the shit for you, and fancy language, which let you to express things, absent in libraries.
This sweet spot differs from domain to domain, from user to user. Even in numerical stuff someone could have a requirement for a better language, although this domain is indeed to well defined to have enough fancy libraries.
To your original point of being "surprised at how many data scientists and quants are ignoring more mathematically principled languages like F#, OCaml and Haskell," I'd much rather use one of those languages, but I'd have to build the foundations myself. Today, they aren't the right tool for the job. They don't have the libraries I need, which means I don't build further libraries for them, making other people less likely to build on them, so they aren't the right tool for the job tomorrow either. I'd say it's a network effects thing primarily.
If there's one thing wrong with our profession is a lack of ethics and accreditation - we're essentially letting random people build critical infrastructure and utilities.
We don't have a tooling problem, in fact we have too many tools.
I see so many people (especially on HN) fixating on tools, dissecting programming languages, editors and libraries into their most minute parts and then inevitably finding faults in them, disavowing them and swearing that other tools X, Y and Z are purer and worthier.
If you want to stop hating software and improve your burn out, stop caring about irrelevant stuff.
A call to "snap out of it" seems that it can help in such situations. Python is not a programming language that should make people burn out or angry. Very few languages should be capable of that, so I think this issue goes deeper than just flawed tools.
I find that the only way not to go nuts in this profession is to ignore most of it and most of it is really not relevant to building good software. There are just too many tools and always searching for the perfect tool is a recipe for being unhappy.
If you don't care about that, caring about "building good software" feels hollow.
Building good software is firstly about process and skills.
There was a license for a professional software engineer; they're discontinuing it, apparently due to lack of demand.
If folks wanted to get a "software people taking the FE" study group together, I'd join up.
Some takeaways from this:
1.) I learned a little bit from studying, but overall even though it was hard, I would've learned a lot more by getting a Master's degree.
2.) The test isn't good at determining if you're good at your job or honestly even minimally competent in your area. For example, even in a specialized field (power systems engineering), there are thousands of diverse jobs (power generation, distribution, electrical contracting, power transmission operations, power transmission planning....etc etc) so the test only had a few questions on my particular area.
3.) There are a lot of amazingly smart people working in software, but the skill range seems to be bigger than in traditional engineering fields where most engineers are fairly similar in skillset (there are some outliers) as they all generally have to pass the same courses if their university is accredited (talking about USA here). In the software world, you have software engineers and computer science doctorates mixed with someone with very little training that is trying to wing it. That means the dataset has a far greater range on skillsets. One employee might have had a class on compilers while another just learned what a for-loop is. In engineering, we generally all show up to the first day of work with the same building blocks (thermo, statics, Dynamics, circuits, differential equations, stats, calculus, basic programming...etc). The only difference between me as a senior engineer and a new hire is 9 years of experience, knowledge of the business and tools and ability to get things done without oversight. It makes a big difference, but I wouldn't expect them to be lacking any of the tools or training that I have picked up (ok...maybe databases).
I'm struggling a bit to convey the overall message that software engineering seems a bit different and licensing would therefore need to be different if done. Perhaps you could have licensing for individual subjects? For example, you could pass a basic test on relational databases where you prove you can do basic operations such as select, where clauses, joins, updates, exports...etc. Then you'd have another to prove you were minimally competent in Java? Would that be of any value to an employer? I don't know. I'm guessing someone already does this for Oracle and Java too.
I personally find tests to be way easier than school, and the schools with reputations that are worth something are... pretty difficult for people like me (who weren't on the college track in high school) to get into. (and there is something of an inverse correlation between the prestige of a school and how flexible they are about scheduling around work; especially for undergrad)
From what I've seen of the test, it does provide some foundational ideas of what engineering is about. Like, it goes a lot into figuring out when things will break - something I haven't really seen a lot of in software engineering.
What I'm saying here is that I dunno that an optimal SWE PE would test you very much on the specifics of Java or SQL or what have you. I mean, from my experience with the FE, at least, they give you a book that has most of the formulae you need... and you are allowed to use a copy of that book during the test, you just need to be able to look it up and apply it. Seems like they would do the same with Java or SQL.
(I mean, to be clear, to apply the formulae, you still need to have more math than I do. I imagine the same would be true of sql or java, only I'm pretty good with SQL, having 20 years of propping up garbage written by engineers who weren't.)
From what I've seen of the software engineers, Most of the time, the software guys throw something together, toss it over the fence and move on. Clearly, they didn't do any analysis to figure out how much load the weak point in the system can handle, or even what the weak-point was. It's incumbent upon me (the SysAdmin; usually the least educated person in the room) to feed load to it at a reasonable speed and to back off and figure out what happened when the thing falls over.
I mean, I think the real question people are bringing up here is "what if we treated software engineering, or at least some subset of software engineering more like real engineering?" - like clearly sometimes you can slap together something over the weekend and it's fine, but... if you are building a car or an airplane or a tall building or something, you probably want to put in the time to make sure it's done right, and for that, you need rules that everyone knows; the PE system, I think, establishes rules everyone knows, while I think software engineering mostly works on the concept of "it worked for me"
Software is weird as the hardware, languages, and frameworks are always changing and the optimal work done on any project seems to be just enough to keep the customers from going to a new product and not necessarily the best or even a good product in many cases. There are cost constraints in Engineering as well (good, fast, & cheap...pick 2), but it still feels pretty different to me than software engineering where something breaks all the time in any non mainstream software I've ever used.
I'll check out that edx class, thanks, that sounds like my thing.
Our industry's working in a survival of the fittest mode, where fitness is almost exclusively measured through profit.
(of course, a lot of professional engineers were involved in building that plane... but it's pretty unlikely that there were any PE software engineers involved, just 'cause there aren't many. Would that have helped? maybe, maybe not. to the detail that I've studied (not.. really all that much) it sounds like they made some really basic mistakes, like relying on a sensor that wasn't redundant, and those mistakes should have been caught by the other engineers. I don't know that it was entirely a software engineering problem. )
As software mistakes get more and more costly, it starts making more and more sense for execs to hire people who are properly licensed to supervise the project. (I mean, assuming such people exist, and for software engineering, right now, you could say such people don't exist.)
But I think the point OP was making is that contractors have a licensing and training program, and if you hire someone to put a roof on your house, they either have to go through that process or work under someone who went through that process. I mean, choosing the right tool is a small part of that, but someone in the chain of command is gonna have words with you if you bring your Xcelite screwdriver and try to use it on the roofing job.
That's not true almost anywhere in software, and that probably makes a big difference.
(I mean, not being educated myself, i personally have mixed feelings about licensure. But it's a good discussion to have, and I think that there should be something like the PE for software engineers (and there was, in texas, but it will be discontinued this year. )
It's impossible to do a perfect job under such conditions, and it's anyway impossible to please everyone.
Ah yes. Just remove the part of myself that got me into software as a child, and proceed robotically.
Why didn't I think of that?
Spot on. Leftpad (and perhaps the whole js ecosystem) are good examples.
Alternatively, if you believe the differences between languages are irrelevant why do you not program everything in assembler?
I am a big fan of compile-time checking, but there's a lot of good software built without it and sadly there's also a lot of successful slow software. These are disadvantages, not an impassable barrier.
Yes I agree that if you’re using Python for a large scale project involving lots of developers its not the best; but that’s because it doesn’t have a good type system.
You can’t work out why people like it so much because of this misconception. The languages that you gave as examples most definitely do _not_ value your productivity, it values correctness as enforced by a type system and refactoring needed for large projects.
Python as a structured upgrade to Excel.
For a lone hacker, its the other way around. Compare e.g. to Golang's "programming at scale" rationale.
The way I think about it is that Python is a strong local optimum in a space that has a massively better optimal solution really close by. But it's nearly impossible to get most people's algorithms to find the real optimum because Python's suboptimal solution is "good enough". And the whole software industry (and in some ways, by extension, all of humanity ... to be over melodramatic) is suffering for it.
I don't think the biggest services built with Python (think Instagram, Dropbox, etc.) have more consumer-facing issues than services written in other languages.
If you're talking only about developers, fine, however I also think most Python developers like the language. For me it seems that Python has strong vocal critics, that show well in places like HN, however it is not representative of the majority.
So I really don't think Python is making the humanity suffer, for any good measure of suffering.
Things like max line length should be something your org or your fellow contributors decide on, not something dictated to you no matter what the language.
It seems you are really complaining about having to write code which is maintainable by others than yourself?
A corporate point of view is than any programmer should be interchangeable with the minimum amount of fuss. I understand why someone building an injury organization has a responsibility to think about the future.
But I confess that sometimes I feel very demoralized when an organization implicitly tells me that my years is study and my ongoing self-education and practice is all meanless Because in principle someone fresh out of college should be able to take over my project with the two week handoff and a few docs.
Pylint and mypy and black are way more useful.
Maybe there are good alternatives but Flake8 starts from PEP8 until you tell it otherwise.
You hyper-fixated on that tiny thing. It increases your burnout 100x, remember?
I see now that you mentioned other issues in other comments.
Anyway I appreciate you sharing your feelings to an evidently unreceptive audience. It's nice to know there are better ecosystems out there waiting when I get a chance to look for my own next step.
if i had to write python as a day job, i would quit. i have said it before, but python is the new c++, helping people everywhere write brittle, unmaintainable code.
That said, this shouldn't be a lint, it should just be enforced by a formatting tool as a format-on-save setting. It just destroys all the wasted arguments about formatting and the wasted time trying to manually line up code.
I'm all for decreasing unnecessary cognitive load, there should be quite enough of that without us adding more by accident.
If you've ever had to deal with this in an email client, you can quickly see that 80 is undershooting it in the modern era.
If so, then why not put the limit on line length without trailing whitespace? Because it makes no sense that with indentation I should lose available characters.
> There is a reason why newspapers and well laid-out websites don't have 300 char width lines.
Yes, and the reason is, print and transportation are expensive, so newspapers found a way to cram as much text as possible in as few pages as possible. You don't see them replicating this style on-line, and neither you see it in magazines that are priced well above their production & distribution costs.
The reason "well laid-out websites" don't have 300 char width lines is because web development is one large cargo culting fest of design. 300 may be a bit much due to actual physical length, but your comment has 200+ on my machine and reads just fine.
I don't buy these "80 chars / short lines and ridiculous font sizes are optimal for the eyes" arguments. They fly in the face of my daily experience.
I can imagine other people's code in Python frustrating myself, but if it is only my own code base then Python is a rewarding language for me.
Gradually pretty much everything has been rewritten in C++ (with Qt GUI framework). Way easier to be able to have a setup program (using free InnoSetup) that just extracts the eight or so DLLs required in the same folder as the EXE and that's it.
We just use Python for a bit of prototyping and data crunching here and there now.
You can do the same with Python.
use an auto-linter - black is what most seem to be using
and stop using flake8/pylint directly, try prospector with sensible --sensitivity
Yes, I know I'm in the minority these days. :/
I usually view two files side by side per screen (so 4 in total). I sometimes up this to 3 per screen, but the trick here is to use a smaller font. Right now, if I split my editor into 3 panes, each has 98 columns available.
Of course, 80-character limit doesn't guarantee good naming, but it acts as a friction against adopting ultra-long names, occasionally forcing devs to find a better alternative. YMMV.
I'm not asking for 300 character lines. A 25% increase would be a rational and sufficient nod to the fact that monitors are bigger.
I also don't think an 80 character line limit is a bad thing: small well defined functions that do only one thing are good. Long lines often encourage people to want to nest code deeply (which is terrible!) or to write complex one-liners, and that + list comprehensions is a dangerous pairing.
I'm writing a mix of Java and python at the moment. Python for lambdas behind an API gateway and Java on some containers for stuff that's more complex but evolves more slowly.
It's neither python or Java where I'm really spending my time though. It's CloudFormation, Ansible, Jenkins and stitching the whole system together for CD that's killing me. I feel like programming languages are the easy bit these days.
Agreed. The mainstream garbage-collected languages are all basically the same in the grand scheme of things. The work that takes most of my time (and growing) lately is packaging, testing, deployment, etc.
> I also don't think an 80 character line limit is a bad thing: small well defined functions that do only one thing are good. Long lines often encourage people to want to nest code deeply (which is terrible!) or to write complex one-liners, and that + list comprehensions is a dangerous pairing.
Python already starts you out at a nest of 2-4 characters, so we don't even get the full 80.
But honestly I don't think a 100 character line is going to doom us all to hyper-nested expressions.
Have I given you the impression that any of the opinions or experiences I have expressed here are not personal?
I've never not encountered them, so I guess you're just lucky.
To be fair, the JS ecosystem I think is a bit more tolerable than Python. JS isn't being promoted far and wide as the good-enough tool for everything like Python is. A lot of JS is focused on the "view", and I can see a dynamic language fitting there (though React/Redux is making me rethink that).
It is a language, better than MatLab/R/SPSS, which come before it.
I honestly don't think it is that bad. And they are many people don't care from a programming language perspective, they need to just finish the functionality.
I don't think so. I think R is a lot more expressive and not really any harder to read. It might have a steeper learning curve, but it's not so bad that I think that actually matters.
I would choose Python any day if the other option is R.
The surveys never tell me why though. What do people like or dislike about python? I know it has a lot of libraries people love (scikit-learn, tensorflow come to mind)
Its not thir fault tho, you can only do so much in limited time, thats why expertize requires years.
In my previous startup in India, I trained unskilled personnel to become decent python developers to work on our product; everything was fine till the product grew exponentially and we had to optimise every nook and corner of it to better serve the customers and save on server bills.
So we had to optimise our application with Cython to meet the demands. So, when training someone to code if we use Python as a language; we should follow up with the disclaimer "You will learn to code faster than most other languages, but you cannot use this knowledge to build something at scale (i.e at-least when budget is of concern, when you are not instagram)".
In comparison, Golang excels in both form and function. It is just as easy to teach/learn as python and doesn't need the aforementioned disclaimer. Web services are a breeze to write and is built for scale.
I understand that there are criticisms against the language design of Go, some are valid and most are just because it was made by Google but none questioning the scalability of Go applications.
But at least Go is a lot faster and has real concurrency AND parallelism, so it's definitely better than Python.
Python has the GIL, so true parallelism can only be achieved with basically cloning a process X times the number of processors on a computer and inter process communication.
Go doesn't have this problem.
> why people seem to like it so much?
> cobble together something like a Bayesian model things like PyMC or Edward actually give you performance that's obnoxiously difficult to reproduce
And this, across many domains
So change the limit or disable that check. If someone is keeping you from doing that they're the one who's insisting on 80 characters, not the language. Who uses any linter without making some changes to its default settings?
I've yet to encounter a python linter where you can't pick and choose which rules to ignore. This is a first one to go. Annoying PEP for sure, but https://pypi.org/project/black/ almost completely eliminates your issue.
It's a very sensible standard. There's a reason most books are taller than they are wide. The fact that we have bigger screens now doesn't change it.
A 100 character line might only see 15-70 characters of active use.
This comment is more highly rated than some links I've submitted that made it to the front page.
In web dev andam data science I have yet to see a language with as many libraries for useful stuff.
Now, if what you're looking for is high performance and precise memory management, sure, the language will never give you that.
What language has as many easily available libraries? Java, .net and npm come to mind as the only comparable ecosystems.
As another commenter mentioned: Django, DRF, Flask
But unmentioned... The old titans of Pyramid, Pylons, CherryPy, Bottle, Tornado, wheezy, web2py, and more.
You have Django and DRF and Flask. DRF is, by far, the best designed framework for building APIs in any programming language I have ever seen, and I've at this game for a long time.
Python has substantially fewer packages where the community rallies around them and keeps them as best-in-class. SQLAlchemy, DRF, factoryboy, requests, etc., are all incredible one-stop-shops for the vast majority of use cases.
You don't need 15 libraries for doing HTTP requests. You just need one good one that does the job so you never have to think about the problem ever again. Python excels at this class of libraries and by comparison npm has appalling choices.
When you think about and iterate judiciously in a problem domain over a decade instead of trying something different every day to see what sticks, you'll see you can get remarkably far.
Let me see, you've got Django, DRF, Flask, Flask-Restful, Flask-Restplus, Flask-API, sanic, pyramid, Cornice, hug, falcon, eve, bottle, tornado, aiohttp, vibora, weppy, starlette...
Those are just some that I've picked out of my head.
Routing requests and managing HTTP fundamentals is a solved problem. There is literally zero value in adding another framework when the real complexity is in business logic.
Django does routing, forms, ORM, templates, APIs, GIS, you name it. Flask is more minimialist and expects third-party package for this.
Django also has a very extensive ecosystem of libraries for managing the common web use cases.
I don't know if you are just trolling, but this is the silliest, most detached from reality thing I've read online today. Python was key in building numerous massive public companies like Instagram and Dropbox. It's one of the most popular and widely used programming languages on the planet for everything from APIs to desktop clients to data pipelines. It had a lot of early popularity in the Silicon Valley start-up scene in the early 2000s, even pre-dating the Ruby on Rails web dev trend.
The guy who founded the company that runs this very website wrote about the draw of Python 15 years ago  at which point it was already widely used in certain niches. This is before any deep learning libraries existed. I remember first playing with Python around 1999 or so.
> I would use it at most as an API exposing ML but that's pretty much it.
I don't know how old you are or how long you've been in the industry, but the ML thing is a "second act" for Python. Deep learning grew up in a time and place where Python was a good fit which put Python in the right place to benefit. But Python had already lived a long and full life before any of that happened.
It's fine if you don't like Python or don't think it is a good fit for a project, but claiming it is a "hobby language" with a "lack of tooling and a relatively small collection of libs" is a good way to get laughed out of the room. It has one of the largest and most diverse libraries. And as far as tooling, Python is one of the most popular languages for implementing tooling. Check out ansible.
> There are plenty of packages for data science. For building APIs and web stuff usually there aren't. Python is nowhere near NodeJS for instance.
This has got to be a troll, right? Just some of the most popular web frameworks: Django, TurboGears, web2py, Pylons, Zope, Bottle, CherryPy, Flask, Hug, Pyramid, Sanic... Lots of huge websites were originally built with Python like Instagram, Reddit and YouTube. Of course they mature into complex distributed architectures using all kinds of languages, but it's all about the right tool for the job.
So yeah, fantasising about how Python "is eating the world" is a good dream, but the only thing that Python is eating is dust left behind by far more developed programming languages, surrounded by far more modern ecosystems around them.