Two resources about the programming language Python are broken down to their bare elements to evaluate their worth to the software engineering discipline. The sources, which include both a scholarly article and a trade publication, are filled with a multitude of different rhetorical techniques, which are used to assist the authors in achieving their purposes for writing the texts. Since their intended audiences vary, these strategies are used differently. Such techniques can either strengthen or weaken the quality of the articles. With this in mind, it’s clear that each article excels in different areas; therefore, this analysis compares and contrasts the two in order to find out what makes a programming resource useful to the coding community.
In 1991, Dutch programmer Guido van Rossum released Python, a general-purpose coding language that eventually took modern software development to the next level. Unlike its predecessors, Python’s syntax could execute code instantly and in fewer lines, which allowed developers to write programs and perform mathematical functions more complex than ever before (Python Introduction, n.d.). The following articles both provide an analysis on the popular programming language. The first article is a trade publication by Serdar Yegulalp titled “What is Python? Powerful, intuitive programming.” The second, a scholarly article named “Programming: Pick up Python” by Jeffery Perkel. Both may utilize any of the following rhetorical strategies to improve their articles’ effectiveness: implementing the ethos of esteemed programmers to make their articles more reliable, using a tone that best suits their intended audiences, and utilizing different citation styles that best represent the programming discipline.
The first article, “What is Python? Powerful, intuitive programming” by Serdar Yegulalp behaves like a review. It centers itself around the idea that Python is the superior programming language if and only if comfort and the speed of development are the priorities of the user. The author supports this view by structuring the article with subheadings that provide the reader with advantages of Python, as well as how the language may “fall short” (Yegulalp, 2019). The second article, “Programming: Pick up Python” by Jeffery Perkel, is derived from Nature: International Weekly Journal of Science. Its intended purpose is to prove that Python is for more than just software engineers; it can actually be applied to a multitude of scientific professions. To back this up, the writer of this article provides the reader with diverse contexts in which Python is used (Perkel, 2015).
Each of the articles on Python seem to be geared toward different readers. Yegulalp writes his piece in a way that makes it difficult for a non-programmer to understand. In addition to constantly referencing coding terminology, the author continuously alludes to situations that only programmers would find themselves in. Given this information, it’s clear that Yegulalp only intends to reach out to novice and expert programmers (Yegulalp, 2019). On a much broader
scale, however, Perkel’s article extends itself to basically anyone within a scientific discipline by persuading them into joining the coding community. As a matter of fact, the article starts off by describing how an agricultural engineer with no formal training in computer science manages to implement Python into her work. Perkel does this multiple times throughout the text, referencing individuals from professions such as astronomy, neuroscience, or even quantum mechanics (Perkel, 2015). By integrating the ethos of these individuals into his article, he effectively strengthens the integrity of the publication. This, in turn, allows potential software engineers to accept the article as a reliable resource, thereby fulfilling Perkel’s purpose for writing the text.
Unsurprisingly, the works’ tones differ, most likely due to their separate audiences. Yegulalp comes across as honest to the reader; although he clearly believes in the handiness of Python, the reader’s best interest remains his top priority. We know this because of how Yegulalp isn’t afraid talk about how Python is flawed. At one point, he even suggests using another programming language, C/C+, due to its faster processing speed. This is most likely because the author wants his audience to build upon their coding skills. By suggesting more options, the readers can decide what is most efficient. On the other hand, Perkel’s article offers a much more welcoming tone. He is simply trying to introduce the reader to programming, and therefore, is less critical when it comes to Python. By using phrases like “less-painful for beginners” or “easier to handle,” it is obvious that Perkel only intends to make his audience feel comfortable in starting their programming journeys.
Oddly enough, only one of the articles provides any sort of citation. In Perkel’s article, he references a resource from somewhere else within the Nature journal, using one in-text citation as well as a short bibliography following the article. Yegulalp, however, offers no citations, but this is common among many trade publications. Since programming is technically a science, one would expect to see some sort of APA formatting here, yet there is no sign of any abstract or cover page. Thus, the readers are left to wonder about whether the formatting of both articles properly represent the software engineering discipline.
Synopsis and Conclusion
Though these resources differ considerably, both prove themselves useful to their audiences in their own ways. Yegulalp’s trade publication caters to both novice and expert programmers by offering a critical view of Python. On the other hand, Perkel’s scholarly article attempts to charm potential coders by utilizing the ethos of individuals from different scientific disciplines. However, both articles’ lack of APA formatting suggests poor representation of the coding community. These authors do successfully achieve their purposes, though, which equally empower their readers with useful information to assist them in all of their Python endeavors.
Perkel, Jeffrey M. (2015, Feb 4). “Programming: Pick up Python”. Nature. Retrieved Mar 1, 2021, from https://www.nature.com/news/programming-pick-up-python-1.16833
Serdar Yegulalp. LiveAbout. Dotdash Publishing. Retrieved Mar 1, 2021, from https://www.liveabout.com/serdar-yegulalp-144354
Yegulalp, Serdar. (2019, Nov 13). “What is Python? Powerful, intuitive programming”. InfoWorld. IDG Communications. Retrieved Mar 1, 2021, from https://www.infoworld.com/article/3204016/what-is-python-powerful-intuitive-programming.html