"Today I spent the whole afternoon with a snake. I've known
Python for several years now -- the oldest version of Python on my
hard drive is v. 1.3, dated March 1996 -- and I've studied and
played with the language several times. But it wasn't until today
that I actually tried to do something useful with it."
"The task at hand? I wanted to lay out the articles I've written
during the last couple of months in an HTML format that is
consistent with that of the rest of my Web site. My site is a
modest one, and producing the few pages of HTML in it is fairly
easy, even by hand. But doing the same formatting for a dozen or so
articles (and the many more to come), even with a WISIWYG editor,
is the kind of task that makes us lazy programmers start thinking
about a better way: writing a program."
"Figuring out that the formatting of the articles had to be
automated was the easy part. Deciding on how to automate the
process was more difficult. It's not that I lacked a tool to do the
job, but rather that I didn't know the right tool to use. One
of the mantras of programming is "When in doubt, start hacking," so
I did. After some experimenting with Perl, SED, and AWK, I
remembered Python, a programming language often touted as capable
of accomplishing everything easily. I hacked my way out of this
problem with Python, and I wasn't disappointed."
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