I sat my final exam at the University of Southampton the other day. It was a referral, as I managed to turn up at the wrong time the first time around and consequently failed. This time, I was determined to go in fully prepared so I started reading around the subject quite early.

The topic of the exam was scripting languages, namely Python, Perl and JavaScript. I’ve used them all during my studies at university to varying levels and decided that I really like Python. I’ve always found Perl to be a bit overly complex and too hard to read to be of much use to me, but Python’s simple mathematically oriented structure seems to fit my brain quite nicely. JavaScript for me is much more domain specific, limited to implementing behaviour on the web.

I was already quite familiar with JavaScript so I brushed up on some of the basics before moving on. Since I find Perl a bit silly, I decided to look into Python in much greater depth. I got started on Learning Python and dived right into the language. The more I learn, the more I like it, so I’ll definitely have to do a few programming projects with it at some point.

This is a new approach to learning a language for me. I was taught Java at university and I taught myself C# on the job in Spain while trying to automate a badly designed computer aided translation (CAT) package. The only thing missing from going through a book is live practice. I will have to build something interesting in order to condense what I’ve learned down into a set of useful skills. I’m thinking of porting my PDF analysis application,Documenity, to Python, or at least using Python to do some testing and bug-fixing in the core algorithms.

Needless to say, I’m quite confident about the exam. I have no reason to worry about the results after delving so deeply into the details so I’m looking forward to the next thing.