opinions and rants on software and...things
May 05, 2008
I'm strongly mulling the idea of building an IDE tailored for creating AppEngine applications. I'd start with Scintilla.NET for the text-editing component, add as much Intellisense-like help for Python code as I could manage and hook it up to a debugger and the GAE development web server.
Now, there are plenty of IDEs that will help you write Python. I have been using Komodo Edit, and it does a lot of things very well, but it did not enable me to do source-level debugging, and I just gotta have that. MUST HAVE. Developing any other way is painful and unproductive and horribly inefficient. It's difficult enough to write in a dynamically-typed language, using both a language and a framework that have cringe-worthy documentation (that includes you, Django), but to have to rely on logs to debug you code makes it too painful for serious projects.
However, I'm so impressed with the upside of Google AppEngine , and I'm so sure that it is going to be a meaningful and important web platform, I'm considering taking yet another iron and jamming it into my already-sputtering-and-nearly-out fire. This thing is absolutely going to be a part of my professional life, so investing some time and energy into making it more reasonable to use seems like it just might be wise.
But please, somebody, talk me out of this.
May 02, 2008
I've been playing hard with AppEngine, Python and Django for a couple of weeks now, and I've managed to come out of it with a useful application: this blog. While I'd hardly say that it is finished, as there are still some features that I'd like to add, I have climbed the steep -- and thus challenging, interesting, addictive -- part of the learning curve. So, I can no longer justify continuing to blow off MyKidsLibrary.com.
MKL is my primary off-hours project, and it has been for almost a year now. It's been in public beta for a couple months now, and I am just beginning to implement the larger features that were suggested by the very helpful and considerate testers. Apparently, as it stands, it lacks the stickiness that is mandatory for a successful social/crowd-sourcing web site. Last night, I designed the data models for the new capabilities, and I started getting that buzzy feeling of excitement that I had lost during the last few months of coding that preceded the start of beta.
Getting back in to the Ruby on Rails groove was easy and enjoyable. As cool as AppEngine is right now, Rails beats it hands-down for a productive development experience. It was also nice to be back in NetBeans. Komodo and the other IDEs that I played around with for Python were decent enough, but they felt immature, especially as I never was able to do any kind of step-through-the-code debugging with AppEngine and the tools that I had. That seriously rubs me the wrong way; I've been coding far-too-long to be stuck with printf-style debugging. It's bad enough that working with dynamically-typed languages seriously limits the code completion that is available.