Inside the effort to refine one of the world’s most popular programming languages
Given the popularity of Python and size of the application base, the Python Steering Council has to exercise considerable caution when deciding upon changes to the language. Broadly, the goal is to improve the level of performance and range of functionality in line with the demands of the community, but doing so is rarely straightforward.
“There is an important distinction between making a new language fast, versus increasing the performance of a 30-year-old language without breaking the code,” noted Pablo Galindo. “That is extremely difficult; I cannot tell you how difficult it is.”
“There are a number of industry techniques that everyone uses [to improve performance], but Python is incompatible with these methods. Instead, we have to develop entirely new techniques to achieve only similarly good results.”
Separately, the team has to worry about the knock-on effects of a poorly-implemented change, of which there could be many.
Despite the various headwinds, the Python Steering Council has lofty ambitions for the language, with the next major release (version 3.11) set to go live in October. Apparently, speed is the first item on the agenda.
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