My involvement with the Wild West side of Python came somewhat accidently. I am helping organize PyAtl and on June 14th we had an incredible meeting! My company Racemi gave a mind boggling demo of our datacenter management tool that is written in all python. Our FlagShip Product Dynacenter allows any OS, including Windows to move around to different hardware in the time it takes to warm reboot…go Python! Finally, Google gave two presentations, one on Cross Site Scripting Attacks and one on Twisted. We also officially launched the PyAtl website that night which is running the bleeding edge Turbogears stack of Sqlalchemy,Genshi, and Toscawidgets. My friend Alberto Valverde is in charge of Toscawidgets and the concept is really awesome! If you haven’t met Alberto yet, you should, he is one of those rare exceptionally helpful, yet insanely smart people.
Here is where the the fun started…
I invited Mark Ramm and Jonathan Lacour to come to our meeting and talk about Turbogears. Mark and Jonathan mentioned that on the way up to the meeting they had a crazy idea. How about building Turbogears on top of Pylons? They announced an experimental sprint the next weekend and this is where things got wacky!
Rick Copeland, Jonathan, Mark,Mike Schinkel, and myself met at Jonathan’s house and started to experiment. We ran into an initial snag with understanding the pylons controller and I called up Shannon Behrens, another friend, who is insanely smart and incredibly helpful. Shannon works on the Pylons trunk and asked him how we would mount Turbogears on top of Pylons. After he got over the “you want to do what!”, he helped us with some good advice. At some point we all went to get some Pizza, then came back to watch Jonathan and Rick go into the “Zone”. After they came up for air, a controller was working and Frankenstein was born..mu ha, ha, ha, ha!
It was 1 in the morning by the time we all quit, but Mark, Jonathan, Rick and I decided to meet at Panera the next day at 1PM to finish it off. A little more work was done the next day, but part of the day was spent just hanging out and talking shop which was pretty cool as I hadn’t met Mark or Jonathan before. It turns out Mark and I have a bit in common as we both grew up on a “Ranch type compound” for parts of our lives, we both have been SysAdmins, and we are both writing a Python book right now. Mark is a really fun guy to hang out with for anyone who hasn’t met him yet!
So, after the weekend was over with I started to hear about some of the excitement. I emailed my most educated friend Mr. Phd from Caltech Titus and mentioned maybe he could contribute with some Twill stuff for TG2. I talked via email a little with Kevin Dangoor and noticed his big announcement.
Apparently, people were really fired up about the collaboration between Pylons and Turbogears. Lets face it, I am very excited that all of these smart people are working together! It now seems that some momentum in the battle for the perfect Python Web Application has shifted, as Pylons and Turbogears have the 800 lb Gorilla of ORM’s in SQLAlchemy, and they have Toscawidgets which is about to come into its own.
I have written several small web applications in Turbogears and Django and I like both. Currently Turbogears and Pylons don’t have a way to graphically manage the database like Django’s admin tool and the API isn’t as stable, but from what I hear this is about to change…..
I do get the impression that many people in the Turbogears/Pylons world feel left out and a common heard rallying cry is that Django has a “Not invented here attitude”. Whether this is true or not, I learned this past week that if smart python programmers feel they aren’t apart of the fold, they are capable of creating an uprising and doing just about anything!
I will close with this comment, Ian Bicking, who wrote paster which I think is pretty sweet, mentioned in a fairly famous post that it would be great, but unlikely that Pylons and Turbogears would merge, yet the impossible happened and the two frameworks are closely working together. May I suggest an equally implausible scenario? What if Django, Pylons and Turbogears worked on developing an interchangeable API? Is this impossible…you tell me!