[Edu-sig] Bootable Python CDs?

Ian Bicking ianb at colorstudy.com
Thu Apr 27 17:47:15 CEST 2006

Laura Creighton wrote:
>>>Of course, how important is it in in most cases for students to really 
>>>save their work from playing with Python for one session? Is this really 
> I think so.  But in addition to whatever else I am teaching at the time,
> I am also teaching 'how not to be a passenger in your own life'.  So
> making tools you can use to _do_ or _find out_ something that matters to you
> is very important to me.  'It's your tool, you made it, and you get to keep
> it (and improve it)' is very much the message I want to get across.

Students also already do enough throw-away work; it's demoralizing to 
add another such task and make them program into the ether.

Anyway, a network syncing seems pretty reasonable.  That could be as 
simple as zipping up the work and uploading it to a class site, and then 
downloading it later (from any machine); you could put the code to do 
this on the CD.

For something a bit more sophisticated, this is a good argument for 
importing from URLs.  Not inlined into the code, but if you added say 
'http://svn.classsite.com/repos/student-name' to sys.path, and an import 
hook that knew how to read such sites (I think both importing from svn 
and plain HTTP are possible, since you don't have to do a listdir to 
attempt an import).  Then all you need is a way to edit files on svn 
directly, which is possible with webdav or maybe something programmed 
directly into the IDE.  And if it is an svn repository, you get 
automatic version control (you have to turn autocommit on in svn, and 
your history will be a little chaotic because there's no explicit 
commits, but you still get version control).

Anyway, there's quite a bit of work to do that, but uploading zip files 
is still easy.

Ian Bicking  /  ianb at colorstudy.com  /  http://blog.ianbicking.org

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