[IronPython] IronPython / DLR Direction

Dave Fugate dfugate at microsoft.com
Thu Aug 12 08:34:00 PDT 2010


All the team can say at this point is that there's an official comment from Microsoft on Mary-Jo Foley's blog - see "Update (August 10)" on http://www.zdnet.com/blog/microsoft/whats-next-for-microsofts-ironruby/7034?tag=mantle_skin;content.

Dave

From: users-bounces at lists.ironpython.com [mailto:users-bounces at lists.ironpython.com] On Behalf Of Hank Fay
Sent: Thursday, August 12, 2010 8:05 AM
To: Discussion of IronPython
Subject: Re: [IronPython] IronPython / DLR Direction

Ouch!  If PR is the answer, then the wrong question has been asked.

And I agree: the people in the middle aren't in a position to comment.

Hank

PS: When did the relief at getting out of middle hit you?  Spokane?  S. Dakota? Minnesota? <s> Having been in that kind of position, I know it took a little while for it to sink in when I was out of the middle.  I think it was about the 3rd day out on the road for me.

On Thu, Aug 12, 2010 at 10:24 AM, Jimmy Schementi <jimmy at schementi.com<mailto:jimmy at schementi.com>> wrote:
Let's not push Dino or Bill to say anything; This is a enough of a high-profile issue that I'm sure Microsoft's PR firms are working on this. Unfortunately, we'll just have to be patient.

~Jimmy


On Thu, Aug 12, 2010 at 6:02 AM, Eyvind Axelsen <eyvind.axelsen at profdoc.no<mailto:eyvind.axelsen at profdoc.no>> wrote:
So, no response from the IPY team on this issue?

Eyvind.

Fra: users-bounces at lists.ironpython.com<mailto:users-bounces at lists.ironpython.com> [mailto:users-bounces at lists.ironpython.com<mailto:users-bounces at lists.ironpython.com>] På vegne av yngipy hernan
Sendt: 10. august 2010 05:46
Til: Discussion of IronPython
Emne: Re: [IronPython] IronPython / DLR Direction

I completely agree with IPy being Microsoft-supported lowers the barrier of entry to enterprise use. I have this problem long time back using Python as the company is a Microsoft shop (mostly). But IronPython being Microsoft pretty much is approved already, no question ask.

I am hoping to hear that IronPython will be supported by MS in the next 2 to 5 years or longer ( forever :-) ) if possible.

-yngipy

On Mon, Aug 9, 2010 at 4:34 PM, Hank Fay <hank at prosysplus.com<mailto:hank at prosysplus.com>> wrote:
Hi Tony,

I have to agree about the barrier being lower if IPy is Microsoft-supported (as all the Iron* languages were announced to be).  I had a discussion in January with a market-leader in another country, and their project manager could accept IronPython, barely.  His take was: I want to be able to easily hire programmers for customization and/or sourcecode escrow clause necessity.  Customization wasn't really an issue (the program uses hooks for customization), as he could hire his bevy of C# developers to do that, but if he had to maintain sourcecode that would be a different story.

Having come from a very productive dynamic language (Visual FoxPro) that MS first said could not be ported to .Net, and then when it obviously was possible (in 2005) made no attempt to do so, I'm having a deja vu experience all over again.  I'll try not to be as cynical and sarcastic as last time, but I'm having to hold my arm down (shades of Dr. Strangelove) and hold my tongue to prevent shouting out "Middle Management Uber Alles!" (referencing Jimmy's blog post).

And so it goes...

Hank

On Mon, Aug 9, 2010 at 12:43 AM, Tony Meyer <tony.meyer at gmail.com<mailto:tony.meyer at gmail.com>> wrote:
On Sun, Aug 8, 2010 at 6:19 AM, Jeff Hardy <jdhardy at gmail.com<mailto:jdhardy at gmail.com>> wrote:
> if [Iron*] die, doesn't that mean MS made the right choice after all?

I don't think that's true.  .NET isn't just another platform - it's
Microsoft's own platform.  Some thoughts:

Like it or not, and whether it *should* be the case or not, in many
organisations (or even teams) if a technology is from Microsoft then
it's automatically approved, or at least much easier to approve.  The
barrier to using Iron* is much lower because they are Microsoft
products - this is even more the case with Visual Studio integration.

Although Iron* are open-source (which is great, obviously), they
aren't typical open-source communities, because of the (somewhat
understandable) restriction about accepting code, and the leadership
all (AFAIK) being within Microsoft.  Microsoft have created this
environment (which has worked fairly well so far), and it's not clear
how easily that can transition to something that's lead by someone (or
ones) outside of Microsoft.

Leadership (or at least involvement) within Microsoft opens
opportunities for Iron* development to influence .NET.  I'm not overly
familiar with the details, but I gather than the DLR approach is
significantly superior to the IPy 1 CLR approach, and that some of the
new dynamic features of C# have benefited from this.  It's hard to see
how a community IronPython could have developed the DLR, and it seems
unlikely that Microsoft would make changes to the CLR to assist it.
(Does the latest Microsoft Javascript engine use the DLR (Managed
JScript?) - if so, then there's hope, I guess).

Projects often need 'angels', especially in the early stages (and I
would argue that Iron* are still in early stages).  Working on a
project of this size takes a lot of resources, and having corporate
sponsors makes that a lot easier.  Would Python have succeeded if CWI,
CNRI, and BeOpen hadn't supported Guido (and others)'s work in the
early days?  These days the PSF takes this role, but projects need
time to build to that sort of size.

[Iron]Python (I don't really know much about [Iron]Ruby) is a great
language for beginners (students, kids, hobbyists, etc).  The Iron
variants provide a very smooth path into other .NET development (e.g.
C# - which I would say is not at all a great beginner's language).
You could argue that Visual Basic provides this functionality as well
- I personally find Python much superior to Visual Basic, and since
nearly all other BASIC variants are dead now, it doesn't provide an
easy road into the .NET world (you have to start there with an
unfamiliar language).

This last point is the most relevant to me.  Over the last few years,
NorthTec have switched to using CPython as the first-course
programming language, and IronPython as the second-course language.
The students *need* to end up with some .NET and Visual Studio
experience, because realistically that's what they are most likely to
come across in the real world.  Many of the students are not capable
of starting with C#.  If IronPython wasn't a Microsoft project, it
would have been considerably more difficult to adopt it - that would
likely have meant using Visual Basic (possibly in both courses,
because these students struggle learning two languages in their first
year).  Although this is my unique case, I suspect that there are
similar ones, where being a Microsoft product is a deciding factor in
whether Iron* can be used (which then impacts the adoption of the
language, and therefore whether the language survives).

> I think Microsoft is throwing their weight behind JavaScript as their
> dynamic language of choice, and I can't really blame them.
My hope is that Microsoft realises they have enough weight to throw it
in more than once place.

(My longer hope, which I know is quite unlikely, is that Windows 8 or
9 includes some version of Iron* out of the box, like OS X includes
Python/Perl/PHP/Ruby/etc.  Being able to distribute .py[co] files
rather than .exes would significantly help Iron* adoption IMO (and
this is something completely impossible for a non-Microsoft Iron*).  I
know some people must like PowerShell and similar things could be done
with it, but it's not the same as having a language with the power and
cross-platform nature of Python).

Cheers,
Tony
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