July 20, 2010

Walking with Pythons

My previous posts about how long it takes for Python 3 to become mainstream had a few comments, both on- and off-site. Those comments written among others by members of Python team, pointed out that there may indeed be unspecified reasons for keeping two identical parallel versions for so long. Well, they know better.

But I still believe in two things:

  1. No matter which version of Python 2 you decide to leave for Python 3, there is still an incompatibility gap you have to cross, and postponing doesn't make it go away.
  2. Python 3 still offers no benefits compared to Python 2, even for new green field projects. And this means that new projects are still started in Python 2.

Anyway, we'll see. Python is a great language, no matter which version. Since the project I'm worrying about is itself a framework with very little dependencies, I will keep the development running easily, language not to blame.

July 06, 2010

Will Python 2 ever end ?

It so happens that I have been an early adopter of Python 3. Ever since the first alpha was released back in 2008, I've started rewriting my middleware framework from Python 2 to Python 3. I have to admit, it was beneficial for the project. Not because the language was that better, but because of the ground-up redesign and rewrite, cleaning up the mess. What bothers me is that 2.5 years later I can't expect any significant number of users to even look at the project, because it is in the "future" language.

I'm totally confused. Python 2 is still mainstream and is undergoing active development. Python 2.7 may be the last of the 2.x branch, but still it is released in the middle of 2010. Which gives it at least another 1.5 years of joyous lifetime, even if is declared dead right now. Which means that Python 3 is still not there until 2012. Which means that for 4-5 years it has been a better language which very few actually use.

What I find absolutely ridiculous is the transition strategy. If you want to break compatibility with the previous version - for God's sake, just do it. And the new features - they are supposed to be the sweetener, the bait for the users to make the move. It makes no sense to keep backporting the new features into the already more popular legacy version. Absolutely no goddamn sense. What you get in the end is two versions, otherwise identical, but when the first one is active, popular and widely used, the other one is... uhm... incompatible with the first one ? Seriously, except for the broken compatibility, why Python 3 is different from Python 2.7 now ?

Are the users supposed to switch to the new version, when all they are facing is incompatibilities and no benefits ? This is so wrong...