A question: how easy is learning Python (with wxPython) compared to learning Visual Basic? I want to learn some programming language that lets me do desktop applications that are heavily internet connected (xml-rcp, ftp, …). Which language should I spend my time learning?

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  1. Python!

    OK, I’ll admit now that I know next to nothing about VB. But I know a lot about Python and it’s got a fantastic learning curve and excellent network connectivity right out of the box – the standard library includes modules for talking HTTP, XML-RPC, FTP and much more besides. Best of all, you don’t even have to save your scripts to run them – just type commands directly in to the Python interactive prompt and get the results instantly.

    There are a ton of great learning resources for Python. The official tutorial (on the python website) is great, and Dive Into Python should get you up and running quickly seeing as you’ve programmed before. If you want a book, the 2nd edition of Learning Python is the best “Learning X” book I’ve ever seen.

    I will admit that it looks like Visual Basic makes creating windows interfaces easier, but wxPython is fantastically powerful once you get the hang of it and will let you write cross platform apps with hardly any additional effort.

  2. I started out as an commerical application developer using MSDOS QuickBasic, moved onto Visual Basic 1 (for DOS), then version 3, 4, 5 and 6 for Windows.

    About that time I stumbled into a project at work that involved me using PHP ( http://www.cinema.com )and gradually ive ported my skills to ‘web application’ development. I now write web applications in PHP and barely touch VB these days.

    I blogged my reasons why I got into web application development here: http://richardathome.no-ip.com/index.php?article_id=271 (zero installation, instant updates to all your clients, etc.)

    I can’t say I miss VB. Sure it has its uses, but I’ve not found anything in my line of work I can’t do just as effectivly in a web browser.

    I’m not saying web apps are the be-all and end-all of application development, but they certainly have a lot going for them.

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