IronPython 1.0 Beta 1, which was released at the end of last week, is “well integrated” with the rest of the .Net programming framework and allows all .Net libraries to be “easily” accessed by Python programmers, according to Microsoft.
Microsoft’s support for Python could help the software giant attract Unix developers to the Windows platform, as it is a commonly used scripting language on the Unix platform, according to Salim Fadhley, who develops Python programs for Unix.
“If Microsoft embraces Python, it could be a big draw for Unix hackers–if our favorite language was supported as a first-tier language by a major software vendor, it would be a major draw to Windows. At the moment, most Python developers hack on Mac and Linux,” Fadhley said. “IronPython could be a massive landgrab by Microsoft into the domain of traditional Unix scripting.”
But Microsoft isn’t the only organization trying to bring .Net support to other platforms–it will have to compete with the open-source Mono project, which aims to bring .Net support to non-Microsoft operating systems, including Unix.
Microsoft has not said whether it will add IronPython support to its Visual Studio tools suite, but it is thought by many that they will. These rumors were further fueled by the news in December that software vendor ActiveState is dropping support for its Visual Python product, a Visual Studio plug-in for the scripting language.