Guido Van Rossum – Design of Computer Programs


It’s out pleasure to be here today with Guido van Rossum, inventor of the Python programming language. [Guido van Rossum, Author, Python Language:] I stayed relatively close the ABC, and ABC’s ideals just sort of naturally lead to a language that is easy to teach. I was in a situation where my two choice were on one hand Shell, which is easy and nice for simple scripts, but sort of limited if you want to do anything complex, especially in those days when it was like well before Bash, the original Bourne shell that I mostly had to deal with. Then on the other hand, the C language, which you can use to do anything you want, including implementing your own programming language, but it all takes a lot of effort and it’s easy to make mistakes that only sort of come out much later after you’ve already implemented a lot of code. You’ll realize, oh, I should’ve used a different kind of data structure and start over from scratch. That original computer programming for everybody idea, in part was just a ploy to get funding from certain corners–if I may admit to that. One of the reasons that in the end note much happened was that the funding turned out to be much harder to obtain than just writing a proposal and winning some contests, which we all did successfully, and then getting the funding turned out to be still an impossible hurdle. I know plenty of teachers who have been teaching Python to high school students at some level. I heard recently that somewhere in England there is a national initiative that is at least considering– I don’t know how much that actually became a definite plan to teach Python to all high school students there, which is a great idea– a wonderful experiment, and no matter what the outcome, a lot will be learned from that experiment.

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