Grok all the things

grok (v): to understand (something) intuitively.


🙄  Cynics & grumps

Python: The Unbearable Lightness of Programming

Ah, Python. Where would we be without this so-called "language of the gods"? We'd probably still be hopelessly lost among the tangled webs of curly braces and semicolons, that's for sure. Somehow, in a world full of complex programming languages, Python has managed to gain a devoted following by focusing on one simple concept: readability. But let's face it, who needs a language that any mere mortal can understand when you can have C++ instead?

Hold Your Indentation, It's Going to Be a Bumpy Ride

To be fair, Python does have one thing going for it: the whitespace. You'd better not forget your indentation because Python will not let it slide. Who needs those pesky curly braces anyway? With Python, it's four spaces (or a tab, if you're feeling rebellious) and off you go!

For example, this is how you write a simple if statement in Python:

if some_condition:
    print("Hello, World!")

Not too shabby, right? But imagine how much more fun it would be for your coworkers if you had written that in Perl or C++.

There Can Be Only One (Way To Do It)

In Python, there's supposed to be one, and preferably only one, obvious way to do things. They even have a saying for it: "There should be one-- and preferably only one --obvious way to do it." But hey, who doesn't enjoy digging through 16 different libraries just to find the elusive Pythonic way to perform some simple task?

Take this piece of beauty as an example:

def fibonacci(n):
    if n<=1:
        return n
    return fibonacci(n-1) + fibonacci(n-2)

Sure, it does calculate Fibonacci numbers, but it does so in a painfully simple, almost elegant manner. It leaves you craving for the complexity and exhilaration found in other languages. Oh how I miss thee, cryptic and unreadable one-liners!

Python's Standard Library: A Treasure Trove of Unremarkable Modules

Python boasts a vast standard library, providing access to an abundance of pre-built functionality. Everything from file I/O to networking to handling the mysteries of the universe (OK, maybe not that last one).

Take, for example, Python's json module, which you can use as follows:

import json

data = {'foo': 'bar'}
json_data = json.dumps(data)

Riveting, isn't it? I'm sure you're on the edge of your seat just thinking about all the time you just saved not having to implement JSON encoding from scratch.

The Zen of Python

If you've managed to read this far down the rabbit hole, it's time we discuss the "Zen of Python." It's a set of aphorisms, or guiding principles, for writing computer programs in Python. Let's take a look at a couple of them:

  1. "Beautiful is better than ugly."
  2. "Simple is better than complex."

I don't know about you, but I don't want my code looking like it was written by a philosophy major. Give me those sweet sweet one-liners, that seductive complexity any day!

In Conclusion

Python has managed to capture the hearts and minds of programmers worldwide with its simplicity, readability, and vast standard library. And while there's no denying it has its perks, we must not forget that in the world of programming, chaos and entropy are always lurking beneath the surface. So next time you decide to write some code in Python, remember to appreciate it for what it is - an unbearably readable, easy-to-understand programming language specifically designed to rob us of the joy of wrestling with incomprehensible code in the cold, unforgiving world of computing. is a collection of articles on a variety of technology and programming articles assembled by James Padolsey. Enjoy! And please share! And if you feel like you can donate here so I can create more free content for you.