[FRPythoneers] Re: VB/Python article....

Matt Gushee mgushee at havenrock.com
Mon Jun 4 22:50:02 MDT 2001

Interesting discussion. Here's my $.02:

Why is it important for Python to have a good IDE? I would say it's a
matter of how the language is perceived. Sean powerfully defends the
view that IDEs don't contribute a lot to productivity, and may even
impair it in some cases. Fine. But there are a lot of people out
there, professional developers (or so they say, and I've had no cause
to doubt them) and project managers, who take IDEs for granted. Who
think that if you don't use an IDE, you're an amateur. That if there
isn't a good IDE for a given language, then it can't be a serious

I'm not saying I agree with them: I write Tkinter apps with
XEmacs. But if we want to see Python keep growing, a good IDE would
help it establish more credibility in the suit world. Is it worth the
effort? That's not for me to say. But it would sure as hell be
easier than trying to change the thinking of those multitudes who
are--what do you want to call them? Unenlightened? Brainwashed by
Microsoft? I read an interesting quote from Frank Zappa a couple weeks
ago. He said something like "Stupidity isn't going anywhere. You have
to make it work for you." And that's exactly what a VB-like IDE could
do for Python.

Um ... I'm talking like there isn't already a good IDE for Python. I'm
not sure there isn't. Been meaning to try PythonWorks, but haven't got
around to it yet; Komodo ... Mozilla? Ugh. No thanks. I don't have
half a gig of RAM to spare. So all I have to go on is IDLE.

Sean Reifschneider writes:

 > >>are talking about.  All the Python IDE's seem to focus on Colorizing Code 
 > >>and debugging.  That's it.   Some progress seems to be being made on the 
 > >>GUI front, but not much.
 > What exactly is it beyond debugging and syntax highlighting that you feel
 > is important?  Certainly not a GUI for GUIs sake...  A form designer/GUI
 > builder?

I could name a couple of things, but how about a good object
browser? Personally, I find IDLE's object browser extremely awkward.

 > I presume you're just new to Python...  You didn't mention any of the half
 > dozen (or more) VisualStudio-like environments avaiable for Python.  Why so
 > many?  They scratch different itches -- a good thing in my opinion...

Yeah, freedom is good. I'm not so sure the corporate state, ca. 2001,
is prepared to agree. After all, look who we elected president. OKAY
OKAY, forget I said that (I didn't care much for Gore either, for what
it's worth). But it's the perception thing again. I'm afraid Python
appears to many people to not have its act together. If so, the least
worst way forward is to try to strike a delicate balance between
freedom and unity. How to do that? Stay tuned ...

 > So, why don't YOU pick an IDE, and describe in detail it's shortcomings...
 > Sean
 > =============================
 > >>I am really pleased that someone is writing about the need to have a more
 > >>GUI oriented IDE for Python.   I like Python a great
 > >>deal.  It is a super language.  I am also an expert VB
 > >>developer / architect.   So, I can speak to this issue. 
 > >>Here is my opinion, for what it's worth.<br>
 > >><br>
 > >>It's not just about prototyping.  It's not just about RAD. 
 > >>It's about the simple notion of integrating the form building environment
 > >>with the code editing environment.  It's also about making
 > >>intellisense like in-editor object-drill-down work for us.  
 > >>This simple feature increases productivity by an order of
 > >>magnitude.  You don't have to remember every single class or object
 > >>interface, and the exact spelling of properties and methods.  Just
 > >>type a "dot" and there's the list.   Just this alone
 > >>is worth a fortune in programmer time.<br>
 > >><br>
 > >>The fact that VB has a set GUI "library" works in that IDE's
 > >>favor - but against it's cross platform portability.  Not having a
 > >>GUI builder works against Python, as well, as nobody can seem to decide
 > >>what the best GUI library is.   My personal opinion is that
 > >>Tkinter and wx are the front runners for cross platform and
 > >>acceptability.  Tk seems easier to deploy - a good reason to use it
 > >>if you want to actually distribute applications to a wider 
 > >>audience.<br>
 > >><br>
 > >>I gotta give Microsoft credit where it is due.  The VB IDE is not
 > >>just good, it's a GREAT IDE.  Anyone who says otherwise does not
 > >>know what they are talking about.  All the Python IDE's seem to
 > >>focus on Colorizing Code and debugging.  That's it.   Some
 > >>progress seems to be being made on the GUI front, but not much.<br>
 > >><br>
 > >>It is really clear that Microsoft knows the value of what they
 > >>have.  Now they are going to make VB forms work in both compiled and
 > >>server side ASP deployed applications (VB7 or .net or whatever they wind
 > >>up calling it).  That gives them a "cross platform" (via
 > >>browser) story.  Where is Python's?<br>
 > >><br>
 > >>If Python had this kind of really productive IDE, it would give VB (.NET)
 > >>and the Visual Studio IDE a run for Microsoft's money.   
 > >>So, I say, just pick a damn GUI library, and get on with it. 
 > >>Tkinter would be fine.  Just pick one.   Finish a real,
 > >>GUI building IDE and kick some MS butt!  If the Python community
 > >>doesn't do it, then I don't know who will.<br>
 > >><br>
 > >>Thanks for listening.  Good luck with your publication.<br>
 > >><br>
 > >>Robert Geiger<br>
 > >><br>
 > >>PS. The opinions expressed above do not reflect those of Metagenix,
 > >>Inc.  They are mine alone.<br>
 > >> <br>
 > >><br>
 > >><x-sigsep><p></x-sigsep>
 > >><tt>Robert Geiger,  VP Product
 > >>Development<x-tab>  </x-tab><x-tab>     
 > >   </x-tab>rgeiger at metagenix.com<br>
 > >>Metagenix,
 > >>Inc<x-tab>  </x-tab><x-tab>      &n
 > >bsp; </x-tab><x-tab>        </x
 > >-tab><x-tab>        </x-tab><x-tab>&
 > >nbsp;       </x-tab><x-tab>  &n
 > >bsp;     </x-tab><a
 > >href="http://www.metagenix.com/" eudora="autourl">www.metagenix.com</a><br>
 > >>1800 W.  Martin Luther King
 > >>Blvd<x-tab>        </x-tab><x-tab>&
 > >nbsp;       </x-tab><x-tab>  &n
 > >bsp;     </x-tab>(919)
 > >>490-0034 x219<br>
 > >>Durham, NC.  27707<br>
 > >><font face="Lucida Calligraphy">    Working with a few
 > >>good programmers who don't know <br>
 > >>     what can't be done to Decipher your Data
 > >>Genome!<br>
 > >></font>--<br>
 > >><font face="Lucida Console" size=1>If one synchronized swimmer drowns, do
 > >>the rest have to drown too? <br>
 > >></font></i></html>
 > >>
 > >
 > -- 
 >  What no spouse of a programmer can ever understand is that a programmer is
 >  working when he's staring out the window.
 > Sean Reifschneider, Inimitably Superfluous <jafo at tummy.com>
 > tummy.com - Linux Consulting since 1995. Qmail, KRUD, Firewalls, Python
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