[Edu-sig] Announcement: Visual

David Scherer dscherer@cmu.edu
Mon, 29 May 2000 23:10:59 -0400

The public alpha of the Visual library that I promised yesterday is now
available at
http://download.sourceforge.net/visualpython/visualpython-0.1.exe (Win32

Visual is a retained-mode 3D graphics library designed for extreme
ease-of-use in scientific applications.  We will be using it in an
introductory physics course, where we need to teach students without prior
programming experience to write graphical simulations in just two lectures.
Visual will hopefully prove useful for other purposes, too.

The package includes a lot of things:
  - A Python 1.5.2 installation
  - The Visual library
  - A few example programs for Visual
  - Numerical Python
  - An unshared Tcl/Tk library (like Python 1.6)
  - A modified version of IDLE
     - executes scripts in a separate process for stability
     - excludes system modules from tracebacks
     - usability changes, including reorganized menus
     - working HTML documentation (F1)
  - A pseudomodule that changes Python's division semantics:
	import floatdivision
	print 3/4     # 0.75

Still in the works:
  - Packages for Linux
  - Source code in CVS
  - A separate download for the Visual module alone
  - Macintosh support
  - More features for Visual, of course

This is intended to be an all-in-one installation program for our students.
We are calling the whole distribution "Visual Python."  It might be a good
start for anyone else planning to use Python in a pedagogical setting,
regardless of whether they plan to use Visual itself.

At present you can't get the Visual module except by uninstalling Python
1.5.2 and installing this distribution instead.  I apologize if that's
inconvenient for you.

Bugs or feature requests should go in the bug tracking system at

For everything else, contact me (mailto:dscherer@cmu.edu)