Python and Emacs was Re: turncoat

Steve Mynott steve at
Wed Aug 22 18:45:26 BST 2007

On Wed, Aug 22, 2007 at 04:20:11PM +0100, Peter Corlett typed:

> On 22 Aug 2007, at 15:38, Paul Makepeace wrote:
> >On 8/22/07, Peter Corlett <abuse at> wrote:
> [...]
> >>You and your editor have to get over the significant whitespace, then
> >..which presumably should take no more than about 10s.
> You misunderstand the way that using an editor drops into the  
> subconscious. It's easy enough to learn and appreciate Python's  
> indentation rules, but a lot longer for one's finger macros to pick  
> it up.

So you misunderstood how to configure emacs in order to edit different
languages in the same way ;-)

Install "python-mode.el" and you can edit Python and use the
tab key and it will work as in Perl to indent code correctly.

> This isn't to say that Python is bad because of it, it's just that  
> it's much more different to Perl than, say, Java is.

Python is only superficially different to Perl with the indentation.

Python and Perl resemble each other a load more than either language
resembles Java (at least with its standard classes).  For examples,
hashes and opening files are similar in Python and Perl but not 
in Java.  You even need two lines of code to open one file in Java!
C# is maybe closer to Perl than Java.

Of course, you can make Java look like both languages with something
like Groovy.  Ruby/Perl/Python and Groovy are pretty much the same.

The only language I would dislike is PHP4.  Although, PHP5 with
the right classes is probably OK. And even C# is pretty cool.

Steve Mynott <steve at>

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