What Python Creator Guido van Rossum Thinks of Rust, Go, Julia, and TypeScript

Python’s creator Guido van Rossum shared his opinions on other programming languages during a new hour-long interview with Microsoft’s principle cloud advocate manager. Some of the highlights:

  • Rust: “It sounds like it’s a great language — for certain things. Rust really improves on C++ in one particular area — it makes it much harder to bypass the checks in the compiler. And of course it solves the memory allocation problem in a near perfect way… if you wrote the same thing in C++, you could not be as sure, as compared to Rust, that you’ve gotten all your memory allocation and memory management stuff right. So Rust is an interesting language.”

  • Go and Julia: "I still think that Go is a very interesting language too. Of all the new languages, Go is probably the most Python-ic — or at least the general-purpose new languages. There’s also Julia, which is sort of an interesting sort of take on something Python-like. It has enough details that look very similar to Python that then when you realize, ‘Oh, but all the indexing is one-based and ranges are inclusive instead of exclusive,’ you think, ‘Argh!’ Nobody should ever try to code in Julia and in Python on the same day.

“My understanding is that Julia is sort of much more of a niche language, and if you’re in that niche, it is superior because the compiler optimizes your code for you in a way that Python probably never will. On the other hand, it is much more limited in other areas, and I wouldn’t expect that anybody ever is going to write a web server in Julia and get a lot of mileage out of it. And I’m sure in five minutes that will be on Hacker News with a counterexample.”

  • TypeScript: "TypeScript is a great language. You might have noticed that in the past six or seven years, we’ve been adding optional static typing to Python, also known as gradual typing. I wasn’t actually aware of TypeScript when we started that project, so I can’t say that we were inspired by TypeScript initially. TypeScript, because it sort of jumped on the JavaScript bandwagon — and because Anders is a really smart guy — TypeScript did a few things that Python is still waiting to figure out. So nowadays, we definitely look at TypeScript for examples. We have a typing SIG where we discuss extensions of the typing syntax and semantics and the type system in general for Python, and we definitely sometimes propose new features because we know that certain features were also originally initially lacking in TypeScript, and then added to TypeScript based on user demand, and [became] very successful in TypeScript. And so now we can see we are in that same situation.

“Because JavaScript and Python are relatively similar… Much more so than Python and say C++ or Rust or Java. So we are learning from TypeScript, and occasionally, from my conversations with Anders, it sounds like TypeScript is also learning from Python, just like JavaScript has learned from Python in a few areas.”

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