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

Ferdinand Schmid fschmid at archenergy.com
Tue Jun 5 17:20:31 MDT 2001

Sean Reifschneider wrote:
> On Tue, Jun 05, 2001 at 08:35:39AM -0600, Clementson, Bill wrote:
> >IMHO the gui-building capabilities of IDE's are a bit over-rated. Many
> Yeah, I think having a stand-alone GUI builder is better than building it
> into an IDE.  Usually because I find the environment provided by an IDE to
> be annoying...  IDEs are great, as long as you work the way they expect you
> to.  I usually find them too requiring of mousing for my tastes.  They seem
> like they're mostly written by and/or for people who can't touch-type...
- However you turn it I always prefer "drawing" a GUI to coding it by
hand.  I have a hard time visualizing what the GUI will look like based
on sets of coordinates...  I believe that may be why so many people
ignored the awesome capablities of Java with gridbag layouts, flow
layouts, ... in favor of the inflexible xy-layout (a la VB).
- Generally it is nice to be able to write code for all the possible
events in your GUI in the same environment that you use to code the main
functionality.  Some IDEs let you use your editor of choice inside the
IDE!  JBuilder as an example in the Java world lets you also modify the
auto-generated code by hand to your liking.  I love this feature!
- If any of you have looked into Rational Rose you will know that one of
the strengths of this product is that it can write wrapper code for your
applications in several different languages.  For large complex systems
such a feature is very nice for getting a fast path from concept to

The first two of the above comments apply only to GUI application
development, which seems to give way to web applications.  Those dhtml
applications detach the functionality from the GUI to a point where you
may want a very flexible XML/HTML GUI designer if any but not an IDE for
GUIs.  At this time it seems that Python is used more frequently in such
an environment.  In this case I concur with Sean's opinion.  
But consider this: The engineer who writes little VB applications for
her/his personal or departmental use don't know much about programming
nor do they care about style.  They just want to get a small job done
with minimal computing knowledge and personal effort.  VB gives them a
tool to do this and Python still isn't simple enough for this group of
users.  Most of this little utilities have GUIs for one reason or
another.  Python could become a perfect match for this type user due to
is capabilities for handling complex math (complex nubers...) once it
makes the switch from VB easy.  

I am "fighting" this battle frequently and often have to work in VB
because our clients know it and want to be able to modify the system
they buy themselves.

If you want to introduce a popular tool then it needs to be simple
enough for just about anybody to use.  Windows and Plug&Play brought PCs
to the masses, not DOS or Unix.  If Python wants to appeal to the masses
and become popular it needs to be simple to use, even for GUIs.  

If Python's goal is to be useful to a fairly small group of skilled and
well educated programmers then IDEs aren't necessary.  If its goal is to
take the place of VB and similar tools then it needs to offer a similar
level of ease of use to beginners.

Just my opinion from the front between software development and


Ferdinand Schmid
303-444-4149 x231

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