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I am a Jr. Developer working in the healthcare industry. I am currently assigned to build automation tools that download eligibility files. I'll spare you most of the details since they are irrelevant to my question. But long story short most of these files are hosted on FTP servers. I suggested using Python and ftplib to automate this task. However this is the response I received from my supervisor

Lets talk tomorrow. We do not want to use Python much, its not secure. Do you know other programming languages that you can use and that are part of the enterprise products we will use across the board?

What do you suggest? Python is a free not secured program that we stopped Armand from using, lets discuss tomorrow ok.

I am unsure how to approach this situation. I would like to come into this meeting prepared to defend my case, but also don't want to disrespect my supervisor (a non programmer)

How would you approach this situation? For those who have been in similar situations, how was it resolved?

Ideally I'd like my supervisor to realize that Python is simply a programming language and that ftplib is just as secure as using FileZilla.

For what its worth I have been building web scrapers using Python for this company these past 3 months without any issue.

The company I work for develops software using the .NET framework. I could write scripts in Visual Basic, but I'd be much happier and more productive developing in Python.

  • If it's good enough for paypal it should be good enough for your boss. paypal-engineering.com/2014/12/10/10-myths-of-enterprise-python Having said that, you're a junior developer and you really shouldn't be attempting to change the development platform. Perhaps you could use IronPython. I would also point out to your boss that .NET is now open source anyway. – Chris E Feb 8 '17 at 22:57
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    I agree that as a jr developer I shouldn't be attempting to change the companies dev platform. But these really are just simple scripts that use ftplib to grab a few files.They have nothing to do with any other software we are currently developing. IronPython is an idea I didn't think of, so thank you for that. I feel like that's too much overhead for scripts as trivial as these, but it definitely could help my boss feel more secure. – Eitan Seri-Levi Feb 8 '17 at 23:10
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    Ok, but why write something when you can purchase file sync/backup/mirror tools that work over all protocols and are very robust and configurable ? – teego1967 Feb 8 '17 at 23:29
  • @teego1967 That's a great suggestion. Could you recommend any specific tools? – Eitan Seri-Levi Feb 8 '17 at 23:38
  • I have used "sync-back pro" for years to sync files over sftp. It can run as a Windows task, scheduled for whatever repeating time intervals you want. There are other tools as well. – teego1967 Feb 9 '17 at 0:00
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There are two {2} issues here.

  1. Your environment already has standard tools that you have decided to not use. You need to be able to speak to why those tools are not "good enough" for the job - and/or - be able to explain why the new tool (python) is so wonderful that the organization should add it to its toolbox of languages they must support and maintain.

  2. The definition of "not secure". There may be more than you know - especially if your manager has no programming experience - he or she may be using the wrong terms to identify a very real problem that they have discovered.

Your next steps are to meet with your manager and understand what is meant by "not secure".

Assuming there really isn't a security issue, you should be prepared to discuss the business (i.e. $$$$) value of using your preferred technology - from the company perspective, not yours.

If the company does not gain from it, and has to support it in the future, you are costing them money for no gain -- you need to show value for the company if you want to introduce something new.

  • With my supervisors approval I have already built several web scrapers using Python. My impression was that my supervisor was fine with adding Python to our companies toolkit, since they were happy with the web scrapping tools I built. But your points are valid, thank you for the advice. – Eitan Seri-Levi Feb 8 '17 at 23:25
  • @EitanSeri-Levi in doubt, respect your managers decision, because it is a decision, not an invitation for a discussion. After that you can try to find out what the decision was based on and if the manager was wrong or you. After that you should be in the position to discuss the matter with another example (in a few month). And discuss it with your supervisor first. – JepZ Feb 9 '17 at 15:29
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Ideally I'd like my supervisor to realize that Python is simply a programming language and that ftplib is just as secure as using FileZilla.

For what its worth I have been building web scrapers using Python for this company these past 3 months without any issue.

The company I work for develops software using the .NET framework. I could write scripts in Visual Basic, but I'd be much happier and more productive developing in Python.

So just meet tomorrow and discuss it with an open mind.

You have your opinion that you can present. You also need to hear and understand your supervisor's opinion. Then, you need to go along with what your supervisor directs you to do.

It's not important which language you will be much happier using. Your task here is to explain the benefits you see (productivity, sufficient security, etc) and then do your best to implement the task as you are required to do so.

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