So. I have now made two little denter/tweeter programs (to send updates to twitter.com and identi.ca), one with Tcl/Tk
, the other with Python
. I figured a little comparison, perhaps, was in order.
If you look at them, of course, they look, well, just about the same. Tkinter is, after all, analogous to Tk.
The Tcl/Tk program made it incredibly simple to display the response from the remote server, which I haven't succeeded in doing with the python script, yet. Both rely on calling an external program (curl) to send updates, rather than relying on the languages' built-in tools. I could probably work out HTTP POST in tcl rather painlessly. I did try to use python's urllib to post, unfruitfully, and resorted back to calling curl.
the code for both programs is available at the above wiki links
The Tcl/Tk program, which has the added feature of displaying the server response, has only 47 lines of code, 245 words, 1844 characters. It took me less than an hour to write it.
The Python program, however, which does precisely the same exact thing as the tcl/tk program, without displaying the server response, has 104 lines of code, 564 words, and 4073 characters. It took me the better part of a day to write it. Oh, but the python program tells you if your update is too long, something I didn't program into the tcl/tk script, yet. There's a plus.
One must ask oneself, of course, is this a testament to the power and simplicity of tcl/tk? Or, is it simply an indication of my lack of skill with python?
I can't answer that defnitively, but, to me, it really looks like tcl/tk is a bit more efficient. Admittedly, I'm not a very skilled programmer at all, in truth. Timewise, of course, I have been writing tcl/tk for a couple of years, and only just now delving into python. As such, I was able to throw the tcl/tk program together quickly, while, my efforts to "translate" my tcl/tk program into python required a bit of research on the syntax for writing tkinter guis, and other elements. It just really looks to me as though Python/Tkinter takes a lot more code to do the same thing. I really have drawn that conclusion. Especially building a gui, it seems, is more cumbersome with tkinter than with simple, good old tcl/tk. I know there are other means of building a gui with python (wxwidgets, pygtk, pyqt, etc.), but I wanted to try the one most similar to that with which I am already familiar, and, I believe it is a fairer comparison when using a similar gui ToolKit.
At this juncture, I do have to say, I feel a great loyalty and deep affinity for tcl/tk. I don't understand why it isn't in wider use, frankly. It is an incredibly powerful language, used for a vast array of purposes, and, in my opinion, is probably the easiest programming language to learn (of course, I haven't tried them all), especially for a beginning programmer. One can be up and running, creating useful programs in a relatively short time. I also feel the need to give kudoz to the tcl/tk community and the tcl.tk wiki
, which is replete tons of example code, detailed explanations, and great resources for learning how to program in tcl/tk. The tcl-ers that hang out at #tcl on irc.freenode.net, additinoally, are extremely helpful, and patient. They won't hold your hand, but they'll tolerate a newbie, and point them in the right direction, without any snobbishness or derision.
I can't say the same for my experiences with pythonistas. Their irc channel was a little less friendly, imho. Maybe I just caught them on a bad day, or maybe I was having a bad day. After all, Pythonistas are known for having a sense of humor. Admittedly, I was frustrated when I finally went to their channel for a bit of support, and frustrated, whiny n00b is no fun to play with, any way. Moreover, the python community does have a lot of documentation available online. Nonetheless, to me, it seems that it is written for other programmers, not for the uninitiated, so, is not so easily read as much of the tcl/tk resources. Their sample code is not well explained, where someone new to programming can really make sense of it. This may also be a function of time, since tcl/tk has been around a bit longer than python.
I do want to make it very clear: I'm really not here to pick on python. I know that it's a powerful language with a great many uses, and a favorite of a great many real hackers
who know a lot more about programming than I do. I will continue to learn to write it, and believe it will serve me quite well for various purposes, and I believe I will continue to have fun learning it. But, I think I might continue to point out how tcl/tk is much easier and seemingly efficient, too...