I have recently discovered Python and by recently I mean a few months (3 and a half). The discovery has been made after I was supposed to do a web application for a course at my faculty and it has been based on the fact that I wanted another programming language that would do the trick besides PHP. The only reason for not choosing PHP is its ugly syntax (mixing code with HTML) and the fact that everybody uses it. That might not be a very good criteria to chose from (because of the community support) but I am known to be stubborn as a mule. I have also discovered Django, a web framework written in Python. The project went smooth and everything turned fine.
My pal Tudor has become a ZCE (Zend Certified Engineer) 2-3 weeks ago and he is very proud of that. He is what some of you may call a PHP guru, working for a great outsourcing company, Zitec (working as of May 2009 at Ninespices). We tend to sting ourselves from time to time with geeky remarks like “Python’s better than your sucky PHP” or “Gaython is okay for you” but after our egos have cooled down, Tudor said something true and realistic: Python doesn’t have a company that invests marketing and money behind it, like Zend does for PHP.
Of course, Python is used by NASA, Google for Gmail, Google Groups and Google Maps, Yahoo for Yahoo Groups, in Houdini, Maya, Softimage XSI, TrueSpace, Poser, Modo, Nuke and Blender. It is also used in GIMP, Krita, Inkscape, Scribus and Paint Shop Pro, it ships with most Linux distros, NetBSD, OpenBSD, MacOSX. Ananconda for Red Hat and Fedora is written in it and so is Portage for Gentoo, it’s even ported to Symbian and is in use by many many others. But that doesn’t suffice!
Java has Sun Microsystems. C# has Microsoft for backup. Python needs somebody who can invest in it more than just using it for great projects and writing a standard. I mean certifications, an official IDE (even though there are quite a few IDEs that support it like Eric, Quanta, Eclipse with the PyDev plug-in and others), manuals (not just a collection of docs; there is actually a well written tutorial) and literature around it to support its growth in popularity. Its coolness itself won’t do the trick because in order for somebody to write in Python, they must know about it in the first place.
I will not list here all the brilliant things that Python has (and I must assure you that there are many). This is not my role. I just want to signal a problem that can be resolved easily and of which results we (programmers around the world) can all benefit from. As the title says, Python programmers, unite! Let’s do something to grow Python’s popularity, let’s start building a certification system, let’s make it attractive to companies (both IT ones and potential customers). We have a lot of advantages over the competition. We just need to use them in an intelligent manner.
I hope that my cry will be heard!