Python made programming available to a wide audience.

Hi, Habr! I present to you the translation of the article " Python has brought computer programming to a vast new audience ".

And its founder resigned

In December 1989, Guido van Rossum, a Dutch computer scientist, planned for himself a project for the Christmas holidays. Tired of flaws in other programming languages, he wanted to create his own. His principles were simple. First, it should have been easy to read. Instead of stretching over line endings and being overwhelmed by the confusion of curly braces, each piece of code would be surrounded by indents with spaces. Secondly, it had to allow users to create their own packages of special encoding modules, which could then be available to others to create the basis for new programs. Third, he wanted a “short, unique, and slightly mysterious” name, so he was named Monty Python, after the British comedy group.

Almost 30 years after his Christmas invention, Mr. Van Rossum recalls the technological version of the character of Monty Python, who accidentally became the Messiah in the film "Brian's Life." “I, of course, was not going to create a language intended for mass consumption,” he explains. However, over the past 12 months, Google users in the United States more often searched for Python than Kim Kardashian, a reality star. The frequency of requests has tripled since 2010, while requests for other programming languages ​​have been at the same level or decreased (see Diagram).


The popularity of the language has grown not only among professional developers: almost 40% of whom use it, and besides them, 25% want to do this (according to the Stack Overflow programming forum), but also among ordinary people. The Codecademy website, which has taught 45 million inexperienced users to program in different languages, reports that today there is a significant increase in those wishing to learn Python. Thus, programming has become available to those who once this area of ​​knowledge was not available. Pythonists, so called adherents of this language, contributed to an increase in the Cheese Shop by more than 145,000 packages, covering all the most important: from astronomy to game development.

Mr. Van Rossum even admired such enthusiasm for his project, for which he exercised severe oversight, in the role of a “benevolent lifelong dictator”. He is afraid that he has become something of an idol. “I feel embarrassed because of such fame,” he says, which seems strange because it reminds Brian of trying to disperse a crowd of students. “Sometimes it seems to me that everything that I say or do is considered a forcible coercion.” On July 12, 2018, he resigned, leaving the Pythonists with the intention of giving them self-government.

No one is waiting for a funny statistic

Python is not perfect. Other languages ​​have better processing efficiency and specialized capabilities. C and C ++ are types of lower-level languages ​​that give the user more control over what is happening in the computer's processor. Java is very popular for creating large and complex applications. JavaScript is a language exclusively for applications available for the web browser. There are countless other languages ​​designed for a variety of purposes. But Python features - it's a simple syntax, which makes its code easy to learn and share, as well as its huge array of third-party packages - makes it a good universal language. Its versatility is demonstrated by its wide range of applications. The Central Intelligence Agency used it for hacking,

Some of the most attractive packages that Pythonists can find in the Cheese Shop use artificial intelligence (AI). Users can create neural networks that mimic connections in the brain, choose patterns in large amounts of data. Mr. van Rossum says that Python has become the language of choice for AI researchers, who have created many packages for this.

However, not all pythonists are so ambitious, all the same. Zac Sims, the owner of Codecademy, believes that many visitors to his site are trying to acquire skills that help in solving those tasks that are not usually considered technical. Marketers, for example, can use language to build statistical models that measure campaign performance. College teachers can check if they are distributing grades correctly. (Even The Economist journalists, when clearing web data, often use programs written in Python to do this).

For professions that have long relied on spreadsheets, Python is especially valuable. Citigroup, an American bank, has implemented a crash course in Python for its analyst interns. The jobs website, eFinancialCareers, reports a fourfold increase in ads that mention Python between the first quarters of 2015 and 2018.

Traction to these skills is also dangerous. Caesar Brea, partner of the consulting company Bain & Company, warns that the most dangerous thing in his profession is “the one who has studied the mechanism, but does not know what is happening inside him”. Without proper control, a novice game, with AI libraries, can lead to unpredictable consequences. Bernd Ziegler, a partner at the Boston Consulting Group, says his firm will address this issue with members of its data analysis team.

Rossum Universal Robot

One of the solutions to the problem of semi-educated professionals is to properly teach them the nuances of the language. Python was already the most popular introductory language in American universities in 2014, but its teaching is usually limited among those who study science, technology, engineering and mathematics. A more rational proposal seems to be also to interest children by offering computer science to all of them, including in elementary schools. Hadi Partovi, head of the charity fund, notes that 40% of American schools now offer such lessons, compared with 10% in 2013. Approximately two out of three 10–12 year olds have an account on Perhaps disappointed in the future, filled with automated jobs, 90% of American parents want

No one can predict how long Python’s popularity will continue to grow. In the past, there were other leading computer languages ​​that have now faded into the background. In the 1960s, Fortran was world widespread. For teaching programming to beginners - Basic and Pascal, taking their place in the sun. And Mr. Partovi himself switched to JavaScript as the main language of the program, since he remains the best choice for animating web pages.

No computer language can ever fully be universal. Specialization will always be important, but the truth is that far in the past, Mr. Van Rossum gave birth to something unforgettable. He is not the Messiah, he was just a very smart guy.

Also popular now: