Saturday, June 06, 2009

IronPython Is it a dead parrot or does it fly?

"IronPython Is it a dead parrot or does it fly?" is the question asked by Mike James in an article in VSJ. It covers Python the language, .NET interop, and an example of using the WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) GUI library from IronPython.
Python is one of the increasingly trendy dynamic languages and it is now available under the .NET umbrella. IronPython is an open source version of the language developed by Guido van Rossum in 1990. Python has a great many users and they are all passionate about the language and mostly about Monty Python as well. Yes, there are lots of Pythonesque (as in the well-known TV series) references in the Python world, but it is a very serious language as well! It currently runs on most platforms, and IronPython extends this range to .NET and Silverlight.

Why bother?
Python may be free and it may be a high quality language but so is C#. Why bother with a strangely named language that you probably haven’t heard very much about? One good reason is that it is an interactive object-oriented language that has managed to take the good ideas from many other languages and meld them together into something workable. If you have looked at early versions of IronPython, now is a good time to take another look because version 2.0 has just been released and this is based on the new Dynamic Language Runtime (DLR) which all of the .NET dynamic languages should be using quite soon. The DLR is an extension to the CLR designed to make it easy to implement dynamic languages. The best argument for Python, however, is to use it – so let’s get started.

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