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Sun Gets Serious About Python

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Python has been enjoying a tremendous rise in popularity recently. At the beginning of the year Python became TIOBE's language of the Year (for 2007), surpassing Perl and making it the 6th most popular language. Then, Django started to gain prominence, followed shortly after by the release of Google's AppEngine, which features Python technology. Today, Python got a further boost with two announcements from Sun that strengthen their support of the language. Dynamic Languages & Tools Architect Ted Leung and Jython Project Lead Frank Wierzbicki announced that future releases of NetBeans will support Python and Jython. A detailed list of planned features is available on the nbPython project page, and includes: Syntax highlighting with version support, Code Completion, Python/Jython support, PyUnit support, Debugger support, Python library manager, Bundled Jython Package and Execution of python scripts. Ted notes:

One of the obvious things that Sun could do in the Python world is to make Python a supported language in the NetBeans IDE. Netbeans has really nice support for Ruby and Javascript, so why should Python be left out? So today Sun is announcing that a future version of NetBeans will provide support for Python. We are not announcing which release of NetBeans that will be because we are taking an unconventional (at least for NetBeans) path towards providing that support.

Before Frank Wierzbicki and I were even hired by Sun to work on Python and Jython, Allan Davis, a member of the NetBeans community, decided to start implementing support for Python in NetBeans in a project called NBPython. What we’ve decided to do is to work together with Allan and the rest of the NBPython community to produce a high quality Python plugin for NetBeans.

The follow on announcement is around the opening of a Python zone at the Sun Developer Network:

The new Python Developer Center is your connection for downloads, community, libraries, documents, and frameworks for developing web applications with the Python programming language and Jython, its implementation for the Java platform.

Sun has proven that Netbeans is a viable IDE for languages other than Java, however it will be interesting to see how they will fare against established Python IDEs such as Komodo, Wing, and the PyDev Eclipse plugin. If they can do for Django what they did for Rails, it will be Game On!

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