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Python Compared to Other Languages

Python is often compared to other languages. Here's a sampling of what's been written, by people biased in various directions...


New: Lutz Prechelt wrote "An Empirical Comparison of C, C++, Java, Perl, Python, Rexx, and Tcl for a Search/String-Processing Program in which he compares productivity and program performance for 80 different implementations of the same requirements, in 7 languages.

John Ousterhout's white paper Scripting: Higher Level Programming for the 21st Century explains why scripting languages are so successful. it is biased towards Tcl, but the argument works for Python just as well.

Guido van Rossum wrote an essay on Comparing Python to Other Languages.

Thomas P. Minka has published Informal Notes from an MIT Programming Language Exploration Seminar, evaluating and comparing Python, Self, Sather, Haskell, Lambda-Prolog, and Life (!-)... Revealing from a theoretic as well as practical perspective.

SunWorldOnline published an article, Choosing a scripting language, characterizing and contrasting Perl, Tcl, and Python. The article incidentally presents some sensible perspective on the place and purpose of scripting languages in today's programming world.

Keith Waclena has produced an evaluation of various free programming languages. It conveys the practical considerations in making such a comparison, as well as discussing the relative merits of the various languages.

James Logajan writes, in A Tale of Five Languages, of his company's quest for a language to be embedded in some dedicated remote communications equipment. The languages include Tcl, Lua, Perl, Java, and Python, and the significant reasons for rejecting or selecting (guess which one:) each are described in a poetic, practically lilting, way.

Wayne Christopher maintains an extensive discussion on language comparisons focused around Tcl.

Aaron Watters' excellent Python tutorial contains comparisons of Python with Tcl, Perl and Scheme.

Dan Connolly includes Python in a list of potential languages for distributed hypermedia applications, and also for mobile code.

Regarding Python's Numerical extension (see the PSA matrix-sig for introductory information), Paul Barrett and Joe Harrington have compiled an extensive tabular comparison of interactive data-analysis environments.

A Language Collector Comments On: Java, Perl & Python, by David Rook, in the Oct, '97 issue of a Navy computing publication, Chips.

Tcl vs. Perl vs. Python - it's all in the vowels (on the "Python humor" page).


(Image courtesy Mark Hammond :-)

Tom Christiansen's Perl versus Python news article. (See also Perl versus ....)

Lars Marius Garshol writes about the vital things which pursuade him away from perl to python, in What's Wrong With Perl.

Jak Kirman has composed an extensive Python/Perl phrasebook from which you can derive your own conclusions...

Python anyone?
by Robert Richardson highlights the different application areas of Python vs. Perl and generally sells Python well.

Python vs. Perl according to Yoda (on the "Python humor" page).


Glyph Lefkowitz wrote a comparison between Python and Java that has some surprising results about performance.

Roger Masse's paper comparing Python with Java in a number of different application areas. Here are the slides presenting the paper from the Fifth Python Workshop held at the Washington D.C. Convention Center.

Alex Nicolau's term paper on distributed languages comparing Python, Java and Phantom.

You could also try searching for "Java" in the Python search engines. (Don your asbestos suit :-)


Frank Stajano's paper, Implementing the SMS server, or why I switched from Tcl to Python, was presented at the Seventh Internation Python Conference. (Also available in PDF.)

Sjoerd Mullender created a comparison of Python and TCL.

Python/Tcl comparison (postscript) produced in the course of evaluation of interpreted languages for use in Alice (originally from U. VA.), a virtual-reality modelling engine which uses Python.

See also the General section above, for a few items which include comparison to Tcl, along with other languages.

Lisp, Scheme etc.

Joe Strout has written a comparison of Python and LISP.

Moshe Zadka has written this brief outline of the differences between Python and Scheme.

Peter Norvig wrote Python for Lisp Programmers which includes a feature-by-feature comparison.

See also the General section above.