Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Python is the easiest language in which to do interesting things

Larry O'Brien is a .NET blogger who is a fan of IronPython and Resolver One. Larry is also a writer for the SD Times technology website. One of his recent articles is on Python, IronPython and Resolver One (amongst other things). It starts well: "Python is the easiest language in which to do interesting things".
As a .NET developer he naturally goes onto talk about IronPython and then discusses IronPython in Action.
For fellow dilettante Python programmers, I recommend the book “IronPython in Action” by Michael Foord and Christian Muirhead. Soon to be published by Manning (I reviewed a preprint), the book is particularly strong in providing simple-but-not-simplistic illustrations and tables that clarify behind-the-scenes structural elements. Visual Studio screenshots may be a little more common than I’d like, but for those new to the VS environment, these may be welcome.

The cheek, there's maybe four or five screenshots of Visual Studio in total - making it one every hundred pages or so! They're mainly showing the IronPython integration and the designers, but if that is his worst criticism of the book then we've not done too badly. Anyway, he continues:

A common challenge for books involving technologies ported to new environments is balancing viewpoints. A strength of the Foord/Muirhead book is just such a balance, providing “Pythonic” topics such as test-driven development, mocks and metaprogramming, along with clear discussions of .NET’s CLR structure, Windows Presentation Foundation, and even programming PowerShell with Python.

Larry is also a fan of Resolver One, the Python powered spreadsheet created by Resolver Systems. I've been working with Resolver Systems for nearly three years, and it is how I got involved in IronPython, so it's nice to hear people say good things about it:

I can’t praise enough the combination of spreadsheet and programming models embodied in Resolver One: I truly believe that this is one of the best ways to do exploratory programming. Although it’s been 15 years since I’ve worked with fuzzy logic, I was able to put together the not-entirely-rudimentary building blocks of a fuzzy manifold editor (a tool for visualizing the response curve of a fuzzy system) in a matter of hours.

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