99 problems

There is a classic set of programming exercises called “Ninety-Nine Prolog Problems”. Though somewhat tailored to logic programming, they form an interesting set of exercises for other languages. I’ve seen adaptations of varying completeness for Haskell, Lisp, Perl 6, and Python. I was reminded of this all by a recent blog post by some bloke called Dave who was using the problems as a way to become more familiar with Python.

Django Mercurial mirror tweaks

Update: The mirror described in this post has been retired. Django source now lives on GitHub. I really enjoyed my participation in the last Django sprint, but prior commitments prevent me from participating in the PyCon Django sprint that begins today. On the chance that people may be taking advantage of my Mercurial mirror of the Django repository, I made a couple tweaks: Increased the update frequency from hourly to every 15 minutes Added downloadable gzipped tarballs (about 2.

From PHP to Python

A former colleague from my days in print design (and a wonderfully loyal reader of my blog to boot) writes to ask whether he should learn Python. He’s a smart guy with a deep background in typography, publishing, and the Mac. He is not a programmer by trade, but has taught himself enough PHP to build a custom CMS for his newspaper. He writes: I’ve invested so much time in PHP, and am quite proficient now (not bad for it being more of an avocation), but I respect your opinion and for a long time have wondered about switching.

Book news: Rough Cuts and Amazon

Just in time for Pycon, material from our new book is now available on the Safari “Rough Cuts” service. If you’re a Safari subscriber, or decide to become one to get access to our draft chapters, please check it out and let us know what you think! Reader comments are incredibly important to us. We have a title now – Python Web Development with Django – and we’re even listed on Amazon.

The Language I Will Kind of Learn in 2008: Smalltalk

In 2007, I took a whack at learning Haskell as my Language of the Year. It was an educational experience on more levels than I had expected. I didn’t get as far with the language as I might have hoped, but I did have the essential mind-opening experience of dealing with a purely functional, “lazy” language. My approach and style in my primary day-to-day language (Python) changed in a positive way.

A Mercurial mirror of Django's Subversion repository

Update: The mirror described in this post has been retired. Django source now lives on GitHub. Just wanted to post a quick note that I’m now publishing an experimental Mercurial mirror of the Django source code repository, including all tags and branches and even the website source itself. Tom Tobin at The Onion has been maintaining a similar mirror of Django trunk for a while (and very helpfully answered some of my questions in IRC), but I wanted to do the whole tree.

Understanding tuples vs. lists in Python

Python has two seemingly similar sequence types, tuples and lists. The difference between the two that people notice right away, besides literal syntax (parentheses vs. square brackets), is that tuples are immutable and lists are mutable. Unfortunately, because this distinction is strictly enforced by the Python runtime, some other more interesting differences in application tend to get overshadowed. One common summary of these more interesting, if subtle, differences is that tuples are heterogeneous and lists are homogeneous.