Zen of Python, Zen of Java

I have a “Zen of Python” T-shirt, which I bought at a PyCon conference. Black design and yellow lettering on red fabric. Its back displays the first seven lines of the Zen:

Beautiful is better than ugly.
Explicit is better than implicit.
Simple is better than complex.
Complex is better than complicated.
Flat is better than nested.
Sparse is better than dense.
Readability counts.

Special cases aren’t special enough to break the rules.
Although practicality beats purity.
Errors should never pass silently.
Unless explicitly silenced.
In the face of ambiguity, refuse the temptation to guess.
There should be one– and preferably only one –obvious way to do it.
Although that way may not be obvious at first unless you’re Dutch.
Now is better than never.
Although never is often better than *right* now.
If the implementation is hard to explain, it’s a bad idea.
If the implementation is easy to explain, it may be a good idea.
Namespaces are one honking great idea — let’s do more of those!

Out of all my T-shirts, it and one other have gotten the most comments. In the past month… A woman asked me if my shirt was about a religion, after reading just the back. I briefly explained it was about a programming language, and she seemed baffled. And, a man told me he enjoyed reading it, even though he didn’t know what Python was, and thanked me for the good thoughts for the day. And, I overheard two people remarking about it as I walked out of a cafe, talking about how interesting the philosophy was.

What other computer language has tenets that inspire these kinds of reactions from laypeople?

I’ve done my share of Java development in the distant past, and I can’t imagine ever going back. The static environment, names like Field.Store.YES, the layers upon layers of syntactic and semantic sludge…

Hmm, what would be a “Zen of Java”?

Turgid verbosity is better than brevity.
Multiple lines of code are better than concise simplicity.
Mid-1980’s software techniques are better than modern adaptable technology.
Many legacy libraries are better than clean organization.
Slow, costly development with large overhead is better than agility.
It’s better to type lots of soul-deadening crap having the grace of four-day old road kill than to quickly solve a problem.

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One thought on “Zen of Python, Zen of Java

  1. I think I will post this to some of the teachers at my university that unsuccessfully tried to force java on me when I was already smitten with python.

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