Right, that does it. I’ve decided to teach myself Python.

I have a background in computer programming, system analysis and design but haven’t done very much in any of these areas for quite a while. My last serious attempt at programming was when I wrote a program launcher for Windows about 10 years ago. That was developed using the Visual Basic component of Microsoft’s Visual Studio 97. I reached a point in the development process where I really needed to update that development suite in order to take the launcher anywhere really useful but I couldn’t afford the upgrade.

I looked into making the switch to a C/C++ development environment but never found the time despite the availability of various free IDEs and C/C++ compilers as well as the cross-platform wxWidgets GUI library. And so my programming ambitions were quietly shelved.

Enter Python, which is free, object-oriented, looks fairly easy to use and can be used to build GUI applications – I actually found a tutorial the other day which showed me how to develop a rudimentary window in just a few lines of code and it worked!

Now I’m not planning to revive my program launcher and port it across the Visual Basic/Python language barrier. That would just be silly. But what I do want to do is find out if my old programming skills can be dusted off and put to some use – even if it’s just for my own benefit. I’ve already got a couple of ideas floating around inside my head and a bit of research suggests that Python should provide a means of realising them.

At this point I have installed Python on my PC, along with the wxPython GUI toolkit (though my initial dabblings have used TkInter) and a rather nice open-source IDE – pyscripter.

Over the coming weeks (and months) I shall take these tools to the coalface of computer programming and see what, ahem, develops.

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