April 9, 2002
Rapid Scripting a la Python in Java: O'Reilly Releases Jython Essentials
Sebastopol, CA--History teaches us that the combination of two
fundamentally valuable substances can produce yet another substance
that is also of value. Steel, which is made by adding a small amount of
carbon to iron, has turned out to be a rather nifty metal. Which does
not imply that iron and carbon are not useful on their own. Man's use
of iron tools ushered the end of the Stone Age. And carbon--in
combination with other elements--forms the basis for life. It also
makes good pencil lead. In programming circles, we have Jython: an
implementation of the Python programming language written in Java.
"Jython is an increasingly important target platform for client and
server side applications with a wide range of powerful existing tools,"
explains Noel Rappin, coauthor with Samuele Pedroni of Jython Essentials (O'Reilly, US $24.95).
"Jython offers an alternative to the
Java language for using these tools, offering shorter programs that are
easier to write, read, and maintain. Using Jython can cut development
As Pedroni and Rappin explain, Jython combines a scripting language of
unparalleled ease of development with an operating environment for
which many powerful tools have been written. The combination can be
immensely valuable for programmers, enabling them to cut development
time significantly while still retaining the ability to use existing
Java tools, such as applets and Servlets. Just as Python was originally
conceived as glue to bind together other programs, Jython acts as glue
to help developers get the most out of Java-based tools. In particular,
Pedroni and Rappin assert, Jython excels at simplifying the use of
complex Java programming libraries and APIs, such as the Swing
graphical interface toolkit or the JDBC database connectivity API.
"The subject matter is important to programmers who want a choice of
languages when dealing with Java Virtual Machine," says Rappin. "By
offering this choice, Jython makes the JVM more powerful and more
valuable to its developers."
"While the one platform, one language approach has its advantages and
appeal," Pedroni adds, "Jython doesn't want to replace Java, but to
integrate with it. The right point of view is to imagine Unix with only
C, without Perl and Python, and think whether that would make sense."
Jython Essentials provides a solid introduction to the Python
language, offering a brief but thorough tour of Python concepts
necessary to use Jython effectively. The book makes frequent
comparisons between Python and Java with special emphasis on the
different object-oriented semantics of the two languages.
The book also covers the various ways in which Jython and Java can
interact. For example, Jython code can create instances of preexisting
Java classes and call methods in those instances. Programmers can write
Jython classes that are direct subclasses of existing Java classes and
use introspection to discern the capabilities of JavaBeans components.
Jython Essentials provides examples of how to use Jython with
existing Java libraries, including the Swing GUI toolkit, the JDBC
database API, the Servlet API, and various XML tools.
This book was written for Java programmers who want to learn Jython to
be more productive with the tools they already know, or to add
scripting capabilities to existing programs. Readers will also include
Python programmers who want to use Java tools without giving up the
productivity gains of using Python. Regardless of their background,
developers will find everything they need to start creating
applications that mix the best of Python's interactivity and Java's
robust libraries in Jython Essentials.
By Samuele Pedroni and Noel Rappin
ISBN 0-596-00247-5, 277 pages, $24.95 (US), $38.95 (CAN)
O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.
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