I've wound up feeling tentatively enthusiastic about Python 3

November 21, 2016

I know myself, so I know that I'm prone to bursts of enthusiasm with things that start abruptly and then wear off later into more moderate and sensible views (or all the way down to dislike). In the past I've been quite down on Python 3, and even recently I was only kind of lukewarm on it, but for no really good reason I've lately wound up feeling pretty enthused about working in it.

Part of this is certainly due to my recent positive experience with it (and also), but I think it was building even before then. There was definitely a push from Eevee's Why should I use Python 3?, which left me feeling that there really were a number of interesting things in Python 3 that I'd kind of like to actually use; it may be the first thing that really sold me on Python 3 as having genuine attractions, instead of just being something that I''d have to put up with in the future.

I call this a tentative enthusiasm because it could burn out, not because I feel very tentative about it. Although I may be talking myself into it here, if I was starting a new Python program now I'd probably try to do it in Python 3 if that was practical (ie, if it didn't have to run on our OmniOS machines). If everywhere that DWiki ran had modern versions of Python 3, it'd be tempting to start a serious project to port it to Python 3 (going beyond my quick bring-up experiment to handle the tough issues, like bytes to Unicode conversions in the right places).

Unfortunately for my enthusiasm, I don't see much need for new Python code around here in the near future. I'm a sysadmin not a programmer, and beyond that we mostly prefer to write shell scripts. I tend to write at most a handful of new Python programs a year. I suppose that I could take some of my personal Python sysadmin programs and convert them to Python 3 for the experience, but that feels sort of make-work; there's no clear advantage to a straight conversion.

(The reason to convert DWiki itself to Python 3 is partly for longevity, since I already know I have to do it sometime, partly because I'd gain a lot of practical experience, and to be honest partly because it seems like an interesting challenge. Converting little utility programs is, well, a lot less compelling.)

PS: Part of this new enthusiasm is likely due to my slow shift into an attitude of 'let's not fight city hall, it takes too much work', as seen in my shift on Python indentation. Python 3 is the future of Python, so I might as well embrace it instead of bitterly clinging to Python 2 because I'm annoyed at the shift.

(Partly I'm writing this entry as a marker, so that I can later look back to see how I felt about things right now and maybe learn something from that.)

Written on 21 November 2016.
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Last modified: Mon Nov 21 01:01:21 2016
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