Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ugh, Python. But, PyCharm is charming :-)

I love coding in Ruby but I have always had an aversion to Python. I have tried: about 5 years ago I carefully worked through Mark Pilgrim's excellent "Dive Into Python" book and I use Python to take advantage of libraries like NLTK (Natural Language Tool Kit).

I got pointed back to using Python this morning. I am writing an article for magazine comparing Amazon AWS and Google AppEngine. I have used, I think, every available platform service on AWS and I have written a lot of Java code for AppEngine (and experimented with JRuby and Clojure). The one huge gap in my experience for writing this article is writing a Python based web app for AppEngine. And, Python really is the best supported AppEngine Language (e.g., smallest server instance startup time for "loading requests," better tool support for importing/exporting data, etc.) Anyway, it would be totally unfair to critique AppEngine without spinning up on their best supported language and tools.

One happy find for Python development, however, is the new preview release of PyCharm from Jetbrains. I just installed it and added a Ubuntu panel launcher for it right next to my launchers for IntelliJ and Rubymine. So far, I really like it - even with the rough edges I expect in a preview release of any product. I have been using IntelliJ a lot lately for Java, Scala, and Clojure development and I use Rubymine frequently so the close to zero learning time using PyCharm was nice, as is being able to switch easily between Python 2.5/2.6/3.1 etc.

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