Recently the TIOBE Programming Community index declared Python the programming language of 2007. The TIOBE site writes "There is no clear reason why Python made this huge jump in 2007..." Indeed at first this news looked surprising but after some thought it made sense. We in the Java community were hearing a lot about the growing popularity of dynamic programming languages. The most vocal were the Ruby-on-Rails followers that declared that Java is dead and the future is Ruby and RoR. Even Sun followed the hype and scurried to support Ruby on the Java Virtual Machine ignoring the Python implementation (i.e. Jython) which was already running for several years but stagnated until recently.
We began using Python for application development extensively about a year ago to develop cool applications such as Blog2Print that use our Open API. Dynamic programming languages are advocated as being very productive and indeed after a short while Python delivered on this promise.
Our experience showed us that unlike other dynamic languages such as Perl or Ruby, Python's clean and explicit syntax was easy to learn and even a newcomer to the language could quickly become productive. Bruce Eckel said in an interview that Python "has a very even learning curve. Maybe it's not even a curve, it's kind of a straight line." Python's ease of use doesn't come at the expense of power, as you continue to learn and use the language you discover more powerful ways and concepts that help you achieve your goals faster and in a more elegant way. Another reason to choose Python is its matureness and track record in production system. Python has been around for many years and it is used in a lot of high profile companies such as Google, YouTube and Industrial Light & Magic.
Python's popularity in the past year may have been influenced by the Ruby-on-Rails hype that caused developers to re-discover Python after finding out that Ruby and Ruby-on-Rails was not their cup of tea. Using Django gave them the flexibility they wanted (according to TIOBE Ruby's popularity went down this year). Moreover, last year the development of the new and revolutionary Python 3000 has finally started.