Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Web: PyCon 2005

I just finished attending PyCon. Specifically concerning the Web, I'd like to direct your attention to:

http://pyre.third-bit.com/pyweb/index.html
Basically, there are too damned many Web application frameworks, and they all assume you know what you're doing. The PyWebOff is an attempt to figure out which is best from a newbie's perspective. Hopefully the talk will be available in video format later. I just finished reading the blog. She said, "Please, whatever you do, don't try to solve the problem by writing another Web application framework!!!"

http://www.python.org/peps/pep-0333.html
Ian Bicking gave a talk on this. It's an attempt at consolidating some underlying Web application API's. Basically, it's an attempt at making up for lack of a servlet API. It's great in that Web application framework authors may be able to share some code, but it still doesn't address the fact that there are too many choices for the user. Furthermore, it does nothing for the API's exposed to the user himself. These aren't changing, it's the underlying API's that are changing. The API exposed to the user has to remain pretty much the same or else existing code will break :-/

http://www.python.org/pycon/2005/papers/75/LivePage.pdf
Donovan Preston, the author of Nevow, did a talk on writing dynamic Web applications. About the coolest thing is that he transparently transmits selected JavaScript events to the server so that he can write the callbacks in Python. From Python, he can do things like "client.myDiv.innerHTML = 'foo'". Furthermore, he uses an iframe that is always waiting for a response from the server. In this way, he can have the server "push" data to the client at anytime. I'm a bit bummed because I thought of almost all of these things before I had heard of him doing it, but he beat me to the punch in writing a proposal for PyCon. Nonetheless, it's always a pleasure talking to him.

http://sqlobject.org
I just ran into this. It's from Ian Bicking.

http://www.python.org/moin/Aquarium
I didn't write this, but I'm definitely impressed with how well the author summarized Aquarium. I've talked to him via email, and he sounds like a great guy. In fact, he suggested SQLObject would be a good combination with Aquarium, which is news to me ;)

I'm a little bummed about the whole WSGI thing since so much of it is really a duplication of the API's that Aquarium sought to lay down. Porting Aquarium to WSGI is like making an adaptor for an adaptor :-/ Nonetheless, I will probably make an Aquarium WebServerAdaptor to support WSGI's API.

I'm also a bit bummed about the "Ruby on Rails" thing, since Aquarium had the same functionality in a subproject called Piranha about three years ago (both automatic retrieval of data from an RDBMS and automatic code generation for a GUI to work with that data). The essential difference wasn't features, but it was accessibility for newbies, and it didn't help that I "left the Web" for about two years to work on the IPv6 project. In the future, I'm hoping to direct more of my attention to the newbies.

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