Discovering IronPython

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IronPython: It sounds like some kind of metal snake infesting your computer, but it isn’t. IronPython is the .NET version of the open source Python language (http://www.python.org/). Python is a dynamic language that can greatly enhance your programming experience, help you create applications in less time, and make the applications you create significantly more responsive to user needs. Of course, you’ve heard these promises before from other languages. This chapter helps you understand how IronPython delivers on these promises in specific situations. The smart developer soon learns that every language serves specific needs and might not work well in others. So this chapter isn’t here to blow smoke at you — once you complete it, you’ll understand the strengths and weaknesses of IronPython.

Of course, you’ll need to obtain a copy of IronPython before you can use it because Visual Studio doesn’t include IronPython as part of the default installation. This chapter helps you get IronPython installed on your system and tells you about some options you may want to install as well.

Once you have IronPython installed, you’ll want to know a little about how it works. This chapter won’t make you an IronPython guru who’s familiar with every nuance of the underlying structural elements, but it will give you a good overview that will make the rest of the book a lot easier to understand. You’ll put your new-found knowledge to the test by performing a few tasks at the IronPython console and within the IronPython windowed environment.

Finally, this chapter takes you through the process of creating a simple application. No, this isn’t going to be the next great Windows application. It will be a little better than Hello World, but not much. The idea is to get you started doing something useful with IronPython. Don’t worry; the examples will become a lot more interesting as the book progresses.