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Why Python?

Oh, right, I’m a programmer.

I talk about mental health, writing, movies, mental health, travel, and mental health so often on here, it’s easy to forget that I spend 8 hours a day programming.

I write code for a living. More specifically, I’m a web developer specializing in front-end code but with significant back-end experience. I’ve spent most of my professional career working in Javascript, ColdFusion, and PHP, and I cut my teeth on QBasic way, way back when.

And lately I’ve spent a great deal of time playing around with Python.

The language has been around since 1995, when Guido van Rossum got tired of another language’s shortcomings and wrote one himself. (That’s a pretty common coder behavior — when things frustrate us, we write code to make it less painful.) Python, named after the Monty Python comedy troupe, has remained a perennial favorite of many programmers.

It’s used everywhere — unlike SQL, it’s not tied to a specific functional domain. You can use it to write a web server; control a robot; analyze data; automate tasks; and make pretty graphics.

It’s also a great balance between ease-of-use and performance.

I started picking it up a few months ago, when I was looking into data science training (which is mostly number crunching). But honestly, I’m learning it because it’s fun. Most things Just Work(tm), and there are only a handful of gotchas in the language that I can think of (unlike PHP, which is full of razorblades.) I can run it on my iPad with Pythonista and make mini-apps. Mostly I use it for academic exercises.

It’s been literally years since I’ve felt a rush coding something. It’s easy to fall into the rut of endless web forms, browser inconsistencies, and wonky APIs. I’m sure Python has its fair share of terrible modules, but the core language is just so usable that it balances out any future headaches.

Coding is fun again. Who thought that would happen.