Jim Hugunin, Architect, Microsoft
Date: Wednesday, July 28
Time: 4:30pm - 5:15pm
Location: Mt. Hood
IronPython is a new Python implementation initially targeting the CLR. It compiles Python programs into verifiable IL that can run on any CLR platform including Microsoft's .Net and Novell's Mono.
Python can run fast on the CLR. IronPython-0.1 is 70% faster than Python-2.3 when running the standard pystone benchmark.
IronPython code can call existing CLR libraries and Python classes can extend CLR classes. Python modules can also be statically compiled into assemblies that can be used from C#, VB.net or any other CLR language.
Because IronPython generates verifiable IL with no dependencies on native libraries it can run in environments that require managed code.
This talk will demonstrate IronPython and explore its capabilities in more detail.
Hugunin provides additional background: "The Common Language Runtime (CLR) is a new platform designed to support a wide variety of programming languages. The platform's goal is to
allow all of these languages to interoperate well with each other by
providing a common foundation. This platform is implemented in both
Microsoft's .NET and in two open source projects, mono and dotgnu. The Mono
project is nearing a 1.0 release and will also be presented at OSCON.
"Previous attempts to implement Python and other highly dynamic languages for
the CLR have resulted in systems with extremely poor performance.
Performance so bad that they were considered unusable.
"Many years ago, I created Jython -- an implementation of Python for the JVM.
This system has very good performance and is still in wide use today. When
I read the stories about horrible performance of dynamic languages on the
CLR I was surprised. I wanted to pinpoint the fatal flaw in the design of
the CLR (.NET and Mono) that made it so bad for implementing dynamic
languages. My plan was to write a short pithy article called, 'Why the CLR
is a terrible platform for dynamic languages.'
"Unfortunately, as I carried out my experiments, I found the CLR to be a
surprisingly good target for dynamic languages, or at least for the highly
dynamic specific case of Python. This was unfortunate because it meant that
instead of writing a short pithy paper I had to build a full Python
implementation for this new platform to see if there would be any hidden
traps along the way.
"This is the first work to show that one of the big dynamic open source
languages can run well on the CLR (.NET and Mono). This contradicts a lot
of popular wisdom and posturing out on the Net. While this work is focused
on Python, these results should have relevance to implementing other dynamic
languages such as Perl, PHP or Ruby on this new platform."
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