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Learning Python for no reason

Just something that crosses my mind every time I delve into "Learning
Python" each night. Does anyone see any value in learning Python when you
don't need to for school, work, or any other reason? I mean, sure, there's
value in learning anything at any time, but for something like a programming
language, I can't help but feel that I will be mostly unable to use what I
learn simply because I have no reason to use it.

The *process* of learning is enough fun for me, and every now and then I do
find a small use for Python that really pays off, but for the most part I'm
wondering what people's thoughts are as far as simply learning it for the
sake of learning. Does it seem like a silly endeavor to most people? Did
anyone here learn a programming language when you didn't need to? If so, how
much and in what capacity did you use it after you learned it?

Hopefully this question even makes sense!
Jun 27 '08 #1
16 1718
Hopefully this question even makes sense!

I completely agree that you don't need to spend time on
learning a language if you don't plan on using it; I'll
leave alone the entire discussion of doing things for fun
only (you don't *need* to eat ice cream, either - right?)

OTOH: do you plan to do any programming at all, in your
life? If yes: consider using Python for every programming
task you'll encounter - unless there are outside constraints
demanding a different language. Python is flexible enough
for *all* you programming needs (I claim); then the acquired
knowledge will be useful.

To be effective in a language, you need to be fluent in it.
This involves both passive reading, as well as active
experimentation.

HTH,
Martin
Jun 27 '08 #2
On 2008-05-12, Martin v. L?wis <ma****@v.loewis.dewrote:
OTOH: do you plan to do any programming at all, in your
life? If yes: consider using Python for every programming
task you'll encounter - unless there are outside constraints
demanding a different language. Python is flexible enough
for *all* you programming needs (I claim);
Many, but not all. Python doesn't work well on microprocessors
with a few thousand bytes of ROM and a few hundred bytes of
RAM. Nor does it work well for writing device drivers for any
popular OS.

For windows/unix hosted user-space applications, Python is
pretty hard to beat.

--
Grant Edwards grante Yow! I feel like I'm
at in a Toilet Bowl with a
visi.com thumbtack in my forehead!!
Jun 27 '08 #3
On 2008-05-12, John Salerno <jo******@NOSPAMgmail.comwrote:
language, I can't help but feel that I will be mostly unable to use what I
learn simply because I have no reason to use it.
The *process* of learning is enough fun for me, and every now and then I do
find a small use for Python that really pays off,
You're contradicting yourself. Which is it? You can or can't use it?

I suspect the more you learn of it, the more you will be able to do with it. I
hope so, as I'm just doing it now, like you, for the sake of learning.

nb
Jun 27 '08 #4
On May 12, 12:27 pm, "John Salerno" <johnj...@NOSPAMgmail.comwrote:
The *process* of learning is enough fun for me, and every now and then I do
find a small use for Python that really pays off, but for the most part I'm
wondering what people's thoughts are as far as simply learning it for the
sake of learning. Does it seem like a silly endeavor to most people? Did
anyone here learn a programming language when you didn't need to? If so, how
much and in what capacity did you use it after you learned it?
I am of the belief that there is no such thing as "useless learning",
or "bad learning"*. I have found that the more I learn about anything,
the better I am at everything. I think this is because more knowledge/
understanding does:
1. gives me more 'entry points' for new knowledge, I can relate more
bits to something I know, making the whole learning process easier.
2. allows me to better relate to people who I need to communicate
with, becuase it is more likely there is a common point of knowledge/
interest to build from
3. gives me personal satisfaction in my life (self-actualization).

When I learned python, I was a bartender, and was just learning it for
fun. Only later did I become a computer programmer. I was lucky enough
to find a job where I get to do a lot of my work in python.

* There are times when learning new info set A is more productive than
new info set B, depending on other constraints of time, energy, money,
etc, B could be classified as "unwise learning"

Regards,
Erich
Jun 27 '08 #5
On May 12, 12:27*pm, "John Salerno" <johnj...@NOSPAMgmail.comwrote:
Just something that crosses my mind every time I delve into "Learning
Python" each night. Does anyone see any value in learning Python when you
don't need to for school, work, or any other reason? I mean, sure, there's
value in learning anything at any time, but for something like a programming
language, I can't help but feel that I will be mostly unable to use what I
learn simply because I have no reason to use it.

The *process* of learning is enough fun for me, and every now and then I do
find a small use for Python that really pays off, but for the most part I'm
wondering what people's thoughts are as far as simply learning it for the
sake of learning. Does it seem like a silly endeavor to most people? Did
anyone here learn a programming language when you didn't need to? If so, how
much and in what capacity did you use it after you learned it?

Hopefully this question even makes sense!
Seems silly to learn a programming language for it's own sake.
Why would you want to learn something you aren't going to use?

My attitude is I may not have an immediate use planned, but such
uses should become apparent as I learn more. For example, I collect
movie ticket sales stats from The Internet Movie Database. That meant
going to their site, finding the page that has the stats for a certain
week, copy the page, fix it up a bit and then import it into Access.

And since I only got around to updating once or twice a year, it was
a labor intensive process. But in the course of learning Python, it
became apparent that I could

- have Python scrape the web pages
- process the raw data
- do the database inserts

I never thought of those things when I started Python, but if you pay
attention to what you're "learning", these kind of things should
jump out at you.
Jun 27 '08 #6
On 12 May, 20:02, Mensanator <mensana...@aol.comwrote:
On May 12, 12:27 pm, "John Salerno" <johnj...@NOSPAMgmail.comwrote:
Just something that crosses my mind every time I delve into "Learning
Python" each night. Does anyone see any value in learning Python when you
don't need to for school, work, or any other reason?
I'm in the same boat. My work seems fixated with .Net but IMHO I think
they would be better off going with Python. Still, who am I to stand
in the way of hundreds of .Net programmers.

However, learning Python in the evening for the hell of it has led me
to investigate Linux, which in turn has made me find out reams more
stuff about computing than I knew before. So I've learnt a new
programming language (albeit at a fairly basic level), installed a new
OS and started looking into setting up home servers. None of it is
spectacular, but it wouldn't have happened if I hadn't just thought
"What the hell, I'll just learn it anyway"
Jun 27 '08 #7
John Salerno <jo******@NOSPAMgmail.comwrote:
Just something that crosses my mind every time I delve into "Learning
Python" each night. Does anyone see any value in learning Python when you
don't need to for school, work, or any other reason? I mean, sure, there's
value in learning anything at any time, but for something like a programming
language, I can't help but feel that I will be mostly unable to use what I
learn simply because I have no reason to use it.
The *process* of learning is enough fun for me, and every now and then I do
find a small use for Python that really pays off, but for the most part I'm
wondering what people's thoughts are as far as simply learning it for the
sake of learning. Does it seem like a silly endeavor to most people? Did
anyone here learn a programming language when you didn't need to? If so, how
much and in what capacity did you use it after you learned it?
I can't tell from what you wrote whether you feel you won't have any
reason to do any programming, or whether you already know several other
programming languages and you feel you won't have any reason to use
Python in particular.

If it's the former, I don't think you need to worry. If you ever find
yourself doing a repetitive task using a computer, or find that you're
using a program which does nearly-but-not-quite what you want, there
are good chances that there'll be a way to write a program to help.

-M-

Jun 27 '08 #8
Same for me here too! C# on the work, Python earning at the evening. I
am bored to death with so many .net/C# years and i wanted to learn
something different and cross platform. I think it will pay back some
time...

On May 12, 10:50 pm, JustMe <alastair.gra...@gmail.comwrote:
On 12 May, 20:02, Mensanator <mensana...@aol.comwrote:

I'm in the same boat. My work seems fixated with .Net but IMHO I think
they would be better off going with Python. Still, who am I to stand
in the way of hundreds of .Net programmers.

However, learning Python in the evening for the hell of it has led me
to investigate Linux, which in turn has made me find out reams more
stuff about computing than I knew before. So I've learnt a new
programming language (albeit at a fairly basic level), installed a new
OS and started looking into setting up home servers. None of it is
spectacular, but it wouldn't have happened if I hadn't just thought
"What the hell, I'll just learn it anyway"
Jun 27 '08 #9
CM
On May 12, 1:27 pm, "John Salerno" <johnj...@NOSPAMgmail.comwrote:
Just something that crosses my mind every time I delve into "Learning
Python" each night. Does anyone see any value in learning Python when you
don't need to for school, work, or any other reason? I mean, sure, there's
value in learning anything at any time, but for something like a programming
language, I can't help but feel that I will be mostly unable to use what I
learn simply because I have no reason to use it.

The *process* of learning is enough fun for me, and every now and then I do
find a small use for Python that really pays off, but for the most part I'm
wondering what people's thoughts are as far as simply learning it for the
sake of learning. Does it seem like a silly endeavor to most people? Did
anyone here learn a programming language when you didn't need to? If so, how
much and in what capacity did you use it after you learned it?

Hopefully this question even makes sense!
I think learning something only for the sake of learning is valid only
if it is really fun for you to learn that topic. That is, it is a
hobby that brings you enjoyment. If it is like pulling teeth and you
know you are barely ever going to use it, of course stop trying to
learn Python. Life is too short. Go outside.

But I think there is a huge difference between learning Python if you
know nothing about computer programming and if you already know
another language (or more). I'd say in the first case, don't put
yourself through the trouble of learning a computer language if you
know you don't like it or won't use it--it's after all just an
arbitrary language for talking to a machine. But if you are already
programming in another language, learning Python is probably
recommendable from the point of view of career or just understanding
programming better.

Most importantly, rarely are any cases so clear-cut as I've described
them. Usually something is partially fun, partially a pain, partially
useful, etc. So, it's your call.
Jun 27 '08 #10
I'm another one pretty early in his programming education, but here's my take.
Python was specifically recommended to me by a few people for a
specific program I wanted to write (userspace, GUI, music). While I
gradually learn more about it, I start to spend a lot of time on
certain aspects I don't really need for this task. I think curiosity
is one of the vital qualities for a programmer, and through mine, over
a few years, I've built up more and more understanding of what's going
on in my box, more than I set out to have, but I can't see how any of
this can be called wasted time if it rounds out my general
understanding.
On the other hand, as Python is about the second "serious" language
I've tried to learn (the others being web- or music- oriented, and I
didn't approach them as programming), I don't have much to compare it
to. I was under the impression before reading your message that
Python was very popular and useful. This list is far more active than
all the others to which I'm subscribed put together! So, either it
doesn't seem like a silly endeavor to learn it for its own sake, or
they're using it for something.

If it is a silly endeavor, I'm going to have to ask you to stop this
thread, it's too silly.

-Chuckk

On Mon, May 12, 2008 at 8:27 PM, John Salerno <jo******@nospamgmail.comwrote:
Just something that crosses my mind every time I delve into "Learning
Python" each night. Does anyone see any value in learning Python when you
don't need to for school, work, or any other reason? I mean, sure, there's
value in learning anything at any time, but for something like a programming
language, I can't help but feel that I will be mostly unable to use what I
learn simply because I have no reason to use it.

The *process* of learning is enough fun for me, and every now and then I do
find a small use for Python that really pays off, but for the most part I'm
wondering what people's thoughts are as far as simply learning it for the
sake of learning. Does it seem like a silly endeavor to most people? Did
anyone here learn a programming language when you didn't need to? If so, how
much and in what capacity did you use it after you learned it?

Hopefully this question even makes sense!
--
http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/python-list


--
http://www.badmuthahubbard.com
Jun 27 '08 #11
Anyway, Chuck's post doesn't question any of the competencies of
computer science. Is it safe to name-call silly, or have -I- by
disdesign misinterpreted?

On May 12, 6:41*pm, "Chuckk Hubbard" <badmuthahubb...@gmail.com>
wrote:
I'm another one pretty early in his programming education, but here's my take.
Python was specifically recommended to me by a few people for a
specific program I wanted to write (userspace, GUI, music). *While I
gradually learn more about it, I start to spend a lot of time on
certain aspects I don't really need for this task. *I think curiosity
is one of the vital qualities for a programmer, and through mine, over
a few years, I've built up more and more understanding of what's going
on in my box, more than I set out to have, but I can't see how any of
this can be called wasted time if it rounds out my general
understanding.
On the other hand, as Python is about the second "serious" language
I've tried to learn (the others being web- or music- oriented, and I
didn't approach them as programming), I don't have much to compare it
to. *I was under the impression before reading your message that
Python was very popular and useful. *This list is far more active than
all the others to which I'm subscribed put together! *So, either it
doesn't seem like a silly endeavor to learn it for its own sake, or
they're using it for something.

If it is a silly endeavor, I'm going to have to ask you to stop this
thread, it's too silly.

-Chuckk

On Mon, May 12, 2008 at 8:27 PM, John Salerno <johnj...@nospamgmail.comwrote:
Just something that crosses my mind every time I delve into "Learning
*Python" each night. Does anyone see any value in learning Python whenyou
*don't need to for school, work, or any other reason? I mean, sure, there's
*value in learning anything at any time, but for something like a programming
*language, I can't help but feel that I will be mostly unable to use what I
*learn simply because I have no reason to use it.
*The *process* of learning is enough fun for me, and every now and then I do
*find a small use for Python that really pays off, but for the most part I'm
*wondering what people's thoughts are as far as simply learning it forthe
*sake of learning. Does it seem like a silly endeavor to most people? Did
*anyone here learn a programming language when you didn't need to? If so, how
*much and in what capacity did you use it after you learned it?
*Hopefully this question even makes sense!
*--
*http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/python-list

--http://www.badmuthahubbard.com- Hide quoted text -

- Show quoted text -
Jun 27 '08 #12
On May 13, 5:50 am, JustMe <alastair.gra...@gmail.comwrote:
I'm in the same boat. My work seems fixated with .Net but IMHO I think
they would be better off going with Python. Still, who am I to stand
in the way of hundreds of .Net programmers.
You could always be the hero who teaches them IronPython :)

- alex23
Jun 27 '08 #13
Matthew Woodcraft wrote:
I can't tell from what you wrote whether you feel you won't have any
reason to do any programming, or whether you already know several other
programming languages and you feel you won't have any reason to use
Python in particular.
Definitely the former. I've loved programming since I was in high
school, but I've never really had much of a consistent use for it. But
you're right, when there's something to be done that could benefit from
a simple script, it's so much fun to turn to Python to do it.

I think I might try to get involved in helping write the Python
documentation too, so that will keep me involved.
Jun 27 '08 #14
notbob wrote:
On 2008-05-12, John Salerno <jo******@NOSPAMgmail.comwrote:
>language, I can't help but feel that I will be mostly unable to use what I
learn simply because I have no reason to use it.
>The *process* of learning is enough fun for me, and every now and then I do
find a small use for Python that really pays off,

You're contradicting yourself. Which is it? You can or can't use it?

I suspect the more you learn of it, the more you will be able to do with it. I
hope so, as I'm just doing it now, like you, for the sake of learning.
I just meant that over the couple of years that I've been studying it,
I've had a real occasion to use it maybe three or four times. For the
most part, I don't use it regularly enough (which is why I'm in the
process of re-learning some of it, because it's been so long since I
used it).
Jun 27 '08 #15
Martin v. Lwis wrote:
OTOH: do you plan to do any programming at all, in your
life? If yes: consider using Python for every programming
task you'll encounter
Yeah, I do plan to use it for fun (if I can think of little projects to
work on!), and Python is definitely the only language I care to learn.
It's simple and fun to use, which is why I hate that I don't have more
reasons to use it! :)
Jun 27 '08 #16
John Salerno wrote:
Just something that crosses my mind every time I delve into "Learning
Python" each night. Does anyone see any value in learning Python when you
don't need to for school, work, or any other reason? I mean, sure, there's
value in learning anything at any time, but for something like a programming
language, I can't help but feel that I will be mostly unable to use what I
learn simply because I have no reason to use it.

The *process* of learning is enough fun for me, and every now and then I do
find a small use for Python that really pays off, but for the most part I'm
wondering what people's thoughts are as far as simply learning it for the
sake of learning. Does it seem like a silly endeavor to most people? Did
anyone here learn a programming language when you didn't need to? If so, how
much and in what capacity did you use it after you learned it?

Hopefully this question even makes sense!
--
http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/python-list
I think almost anyone especially if frequently uses computer could
benefit from learning a scripting language. I'm mainly a C and C++
person and most of my programs use it. But when I want to do a simple
one-time task or something that will change frequently I'll use a
scripting language to quickly get it done, such as extracting
information from a web page or whatever. With C, C++, and Python I do
just about whatever I want/need, and they can be combined/embedded as
well. In general I think that learning some basics of programming can
help develop pretty good logic/analytic skills as well, but that's just
my opinion. Maybe it's the other way around and logic/analytic skills
lead to easily learning programing languages. As for learning for the
sake of it, if it's fun I don't see how it could hurt any.

Brian Vanderburg II
Jun 27 '08 #17

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