Simon Willison’s Weblog

Items tagged python, programminglanguages

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What are some good resources to learn how to cleanse data using Python?

http://gnosis.cx/TPiP/ “Text Processing in Python” is a free online book that covers a bunch of useful topics related to data cleanup. It’s over 10 years old now but is still mostly relevant—the chapter on regular expressions is particularly good.

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Web app: what programming knowledge do I need to create a goings on app?

For this kind of application a much more important question than "how can I build it? is "where will I get the data from?"—If you don’t have a good answer for that building the app is a waste of your time. The world is littered with local events listings apps that no one uses because they don’t have good data.

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Which should I learn: Python or PHP?

Python will teach you more about programming than PHP—and you’ll be able to learn PHP easily if you learn Python first.

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What are some hidden features of Python?

Generators and Iterators are pretty amazing. These two tutorials will really open your eyes as to how powerful they can be:

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How do I learn Python fast?

Learn how to use the Python interactive prompt and start solving problems with it. The official Python tutorial is an excellent place to start: http://docs.python.org/2/tutorial/

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How can some really large services (like Dropbox) afford to use Python as a primary language, if it’s one to two orders of magnitude slower than other, compiled languages?

Because raw language speed often doesn’t matter that much. In the case if Dropbox the client software spends most of its time waiting for bits to load from the network or from disk. Most large websites spend their time waiting for the database. You can’t speed up network or disk performance by using a faster language.

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What are the best resources for learning regular expressions?

The O’Reilly book on Regular Expressions is absolutely superb. It will help you build a much deeper understanding if how they actually work than any online tutorial I’ve seen.

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What web programming framework best supports ’drag and drop’ actions?  Please give examples of sites and/or plug-ins that support the interaction.

Drag and drop is a client-side thing—it has nothing to do with the server-side technology being used.

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And so it goes, around again. Charles Miller on Java, pointing out that if you don’t have closures and first-class functions you end up having to add band-aid solutions and special case syntactic sugar. Python’s lack of multi-line lambdas leads to a similar (though less pronounced) effect. # 3rd September 2009, 9:46 am