Quick note before you read the rest. Python 2 is officially dead (December 31, 2019). Or rather it is no longer supported. So if you are going to learn Python, it’s going to be in Python 3 from here on out and that’s a good thing. Even my beloved Plone has finally been ported to Python 3, something I thought would never happen because Zope and Plone have been around for a long time and are very large codebases.
I’ve learned a few computer languages and development environments over the years and none has quite caught my fancy the way Python has. Maybe it’s a sign of maturity or that I’m tired of looking at different languages. The first language I learned on my own was Perl. An amazingly cool language that is very easy to write but difficult to maintain. I even got to meet Larry Wall and get his autograph. When I wanted to do web development I naturally looked at Perl but it became too cumbersome and looked at PHP. It’s roots are Perl but is geared towards creating web pages.
My introduction to Python came through Zope. I would not recommend that route to anyone. Zope though very good as a web framework (though billed as an application framework) has a very steep learning curve. Python does not. I’ve taken up learning Python on my own and have been to two Pycon’s both in Dallas (2006 and 2007) and I plan to go to Chicago in 2008. I got to meet Guido Von Rossum and get his autograph too.
I also met up with a fellow podcaster Ron Stephens of Python 411 and he recorded our dinner conversation at Pycon 2007 with one other Pycon attendee Bill Rodman. Click to give it a listen.
Since delving into the world of Python I’ve encountered IronPython (in case I’m ever stuck having to develop in .NET) and Jython (in case I’m ever stuck having to work in Java in again). Python hits the sweet spot of computer languages. It’s easy to learn and is attractive to us hacker types (calling myself a hacker is a bit of a stretch), er computer geeks. It comes off a bit odd at first. By that I mean whitespace is a big deal, but once you get past it it’s no big deal and makes he code a lot easier to read. It is also attractive to enterprise developers. It is object oriented, robust, plays well with others, and can be used for heavy duty projects.
Update 21 August 2016
Since 2006 I’ve been to all but two PyCons. I skipped the 2nd one in Atlanta and the first one in Portland. It’s amazing how much it has grown in the past ten years. In 2006 there were about 400 attendees and not very diverse. In 2015 (the last one I attended) it was over 2500 people and much more diversity and more women as presenters and as attendees.
TuPLE the previous Tucson Python group is defunct, but there is now a Tucson Python Meetup has succeeded it. There is still a tucsonpython.org website, a Facebook page and Twitter account @TuPLE (which is used to tweet about the Meetup and other stuff. There is even a Google Groups for TuPLE (now the Tucson Python Meetup).