When I got into web development, I considered myself a latecomer to the game, and that was in 1999. In the five years I’d been working professionally as a developer, my apps were strictly desktop – multimedia CD-ROM stuff done in Director (then a product of Macromedia) and business productivity apps written in pre-.NET VB and Java-a-la-JBuilder.
The company with whom I’d landed a contract had a contrarian tech lead. It seemed that the web app world was building their stuff on Linux, Perl and MySQL, and this guy was all about BSD, Python and PostgreSQL. In 1999 terms, he was a freak even amongst the freaks.
I had a pretty full schedule that summer, followed by a one-week vacation at Burning Man, followed by the start of my contract at this new company. The tech lead wanted me to be ready to do some coding on my first day in, so I brought a copy of O’Reilly’s Learning Python along with my laptop to Black Rock Desert, hoping to squeeze in some hacking time at the big desert bacchanal. Luckily, Burning Man is pretty mellow during the day, and in an additional stroke of luck, the neighbouring camp was sharing AC power from their “eggbeater” windmill. I learned Python by writing sample apps in an extremely distracting environment, and because of that, I fell quite in love with the language. Any language that you can learn while naked people playing the tuba on unicycles are circling you has to be a good one.
That’s why I’m glad to see that implementations like IronPython exist, and that they tie into things like the .NET framework and Silverlight. IronPython’s performance is quite close to standard Python, and I use it along with IronRuby as my scripting language for automating tasks and doing little “housekeeping” things on my systems. I’m not using IronPython to the degree that Michael Foord is – he’s using it for full-on .NET applications instead of C# or VB! Scott Hanselman talks with him about working with IronPython as his primary development language in the latest edition of his Hanselminutes podcast.
As an added bonus, the blog entry for the podcast has a special limited-time coupon code that will save you 40% off the price of Manning Publications’ IronPython in Action (which Foord co-wrote), and the discount applies to both the dead-tree and PDF versions of the book. At 40% off, the PDF version is a mere USD$16.50 (CAD$20.14 at the time of this writing).