Microsoft IronPython Plows Ahead

 
 
By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2006-01-27
 
 
 

A Microsoft-branded version of the IronPython programming language is moving full-speed ahead toward final delivery.

IronPython, an implementation of the of the open-source Python language, which targets Microsofts CLR (Common Language Runtime), has just reached its second full beta release in less than a month.

Microsoft posted the bits for beta 2 of IronPython 1.0 to its Download Center site on Jan. 25. The software giant had just released beta 1 of IronPython 1.0 on December 30.

In a blog post following the release of beta 1, Jim Hugunin, the creator of IronPython, said the code was all but complete and that another release would be forthcoming quickly.

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In the post from early this month, Hugunin said: "This release marks a major milestone in that we think we have workable answers to all the major design issues for a 1.0 final.

"Of course, we suspect that youll have suggestions and issues we didnt anticipate, so we expect to see these final decisions change as we get feedback on the beta releases.

"Since IronPython ships every 2-3 weeks, the differences between beta 1 and the last 0.9.x release arent huge. However, we did close on some fairly major design issues to finally reach 1.0 beta."

IronPython compiles Python programs into bytecode that will run on either Microsofts .Net or the open-source Mono platform.

IronPython includes an interactive interpreter and transparent on-the-fly compilation of source files like the Python language. The language is written in C# and is made available as part of Microsofts Shared Source initiative.

IronPython adds Python to the list of languages the CLR supports. The CLR supports multiple programming languages and provides a common type system that can enable these languages to interoperate with each other.

Microsoft hired Hugunin in August of 2004 to join its CLR team. Hugunin created Jpython/Jython language and co-designed the AspectJ aspect-oriented-programming language while working at the Xerox PARC research center.

Hugunin has been popular among open-source aficionados. Before moving to Microsoft, IronPython was licensed under the open-source Common Public License.

Beta 2 of IronPython 1.0 is available here.

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