"I love this thing, can't use it enough!"
Version: Python 2.2.3
The language: Although I like Perl, there is one thing about the language that really annoys me. It's the Perl-centric idea that "There's More Than One Way To Do it". The problem I've had time and time again is that there are SO MANY ways to do something that coming in behind someone else and working with their code is often a nightmare, especially if the codebase is more than a few hundred lines long. If the person that wrote the code approaches programming in a radically different fashion than you, you might as well make a pot of coffee because it's gonna take you 6 hours just to figure out what's going on!
I think Python was partly designed with this in mind. While still retaining most of the powerful functionality of Perl (because let's face it - some of the stuff you can do with 10 lines of Perl would send a C programmer to the looney bin!), the langauge enforces standardized syntax and indention elements to ensure consistent looking code across the entire project. For people like myself, who spend a lot of time messing with code originated by someone who left the shop a year ago, this is a HUGE time-saver. I also like the 'docstring' feature, which functions much like Java's 'JavaDoc'.
This Python IDE: The Python 2.2.3 IDE for Windows is great. During installation, all of the registry entries and paths needed to make the thing work are put in place flawlessly. You can also customize the heck out of the editor by tinkering with the 'config.txt' file and re-launching. Execution is fast, debugging and tracing are good enough for intermediate level and above programmers to figure out the deal. Lots of features, but you need to take the time to find them.
I've read a couple reviews on here about people not being able to get this thing to work. Python finds its origins in UNIX and Linux, and this IDE reflects those origins.
I think the average UNIX/Linux user will install Python 2.2.3 for Windows on their PC, and be programming five minutes later.
Windows users are gonna have a couple issues. As is tyical in most UNIX apps, simply launching this program reveals very little about how to actually do anything with it. Even the GUI interface looks like a simple command prompt.
The tutorial that comes with this package is very good - start typing!
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