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This is kind of a two-parter...

1. What scripting language do you use when you need to bang out a quick script?

2. One of the O`Reilly speeches last week, talked about the tools users use.  One of the lines I read from someone's notes pretty mush said, "Joel Spolsky uses Excel for everything."  Is that anywhere near true?

Andrew Burton
Monday, February 23, 2004

1. VB. Nothing beats 13 years of experience when it comes to banging something out.

2. Are they talking about me again? Well anyway, it's true -- I probably use Excel a lot more than average for the kind of one-time data transformations that most people bang out a shell script for.

Joel Spolsky
Fog Creek Software
Monday, February 23, 2004

Jared reminds me that I once said "Excel is the awk of Windows."


(I had forgotten saying that).

Joel Spolsky
Fog Creek Software
Monday, February 23, 2004

'Excel is the awk  of windows'

Of course it is, I've been writing stuff like this for years:


Vivek Bhatia
Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Scripting is fantastic. There are very high productivity scripting languages, like Perl and Python.

The only problem is, they are very productive in some areas, and lack productivity in other areas.

Yes, you can code the algorithms of an application in Python faster than you can in VB, but then you have to write the user interface - and you lose all the time and effort gained because of Python, because with Python, you have to work with wxWindows or another toolkit which is an order of magnitude less productive than VB user interface building.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

If you're lucky enough to be working on Mac OS X, you get the best of both worlds, with Python, PyObjC, and Apple's (NeXT's) Interface Builder.

Doug L.
Tuesday, February 24, 2004

John, have you tried PythonCard?  Or one of the many other Python GUI builders (Boa, wxDesigner, etc.)?

Phillip J. Eby
Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Perl?  Productive?

"Always code as if the person who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live."

Not using Perl would help a lot. ;-)

KSH scripting!  It's purty!

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

.... because with Python, you have to work with wxWindows or another toolkit which is an order of magnitude less productive than VB user interface building ......

like delphi?
and read

peter renshaw
Tuesday, February 24, 2004

If I had to deify one single programming book... It would be The Pragmatic Programmer. I wear out a copy every year or so, because I constantly re-read it.

Well... it advised learning a scripting language. I know a few, but thought I would try Python. WOW! I immediately fell in love. I have read ever Python book I can find (about 12) and have written a 50 or 60 small to med scripts. It could easily be the most powerful language every made.

It is SO easy to translate thoughts to code it is frightning. Create by one man. Who then gave it to the world without asking a penny.

If you have never tried it, you should run, not walk, to

michael christopher
Thursday, February 26, 2004

May I suggest Ruby ( It's a pure OO scripting language (that can be written procedurally if that's your thing) with amazingly clean and consistent syntax. There's an online copy of the best English Ruby book so far, "Programming Ruby" by Thomas an d Hunt, at ( They are the guys that wrote "The Pragmatic Programmer".

Jim Menard
Friday, February 27, 2004

Who needs to use scripting to build a hard-and-soft layers architecture, when you can just make the entire application soft (and fast).

Pity those people still plugging away at stiffly-typed, file-based, early seventies-derived languages ;-)

As a self-confessed Smalltalk fetishist, I'd just like to point out that Dolphin Smalltalk is a lot simpler, more consistent and works very well against the Windows API. - unfortunately, only available for Windows...

Anyway, I did try Python and Ruby, and nether felt as productive - they're certainly not so consistent as Smalltalk.

Dafydd Rees
Monday, March 1, 2004

Heh 70's language, first Version of Smalltalk was written in 1972!

Anyway scripting helps productivity.  But designing it properly helps also. I've seen enough of  C/Java thown like they where scripting languages and they where writing onetime app.

BTW: I didn't get from the interface exacly the proper way to post URL:s, in the interface example in the interface could help. [Assuming I'm not only one.]

Jouni Osmala
Wednesday, March 3, 2004

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