[Edu-sig] forking vpython????
ajsiegel at optonline.net
Tue Nov 7 18:30:32 CET 2006
For the record:
I have made my peace with Bruce Sherwood, the physics professor who
administers the the vpython project. Anyone listening in on
visual-python list can see that our recent interactions are quite
cordial- as are the private interaction we have recently had. He and
Ruth Chabay are hard at work meeting a deadline for a second addition
of "Matters and Interaction"
which is seems to me is an innovative introductory physics textbook, and
an innovative use of Python, via VPython, in education.
That being said:
The possibility that I will approach my contributions to vpython as a
fork, rather "joining" the project seems strong.
a) I am frustrated with the pace of feedback to my efforts to
contribute, and in fact there is no one currently committed to the
project very qualified to evaluate those efforts.
b) I am upfront about my lack of C++ expertise, and shy from the
responsibility of making contributions in an environment where the
program is being used in a growing number of college curricula and where
there is not the expertise to vet those contributions, however:
- PyGeo exercises vpython extensively, and has developed a fairly
extensive set of tests (of a kind). I am satisfied to consider my
vpython-fork code as production quality to the extent those tests are
passed. OTOH, those test are not designed explicitly to test vpython,
and I can understand a decision that they are inadequate for this purpose.
c) In going through the vpython code I am finding a lot of undocumented
features, and a lot of easy extensions. There are, for example, a
number of functions on vectors and vector methods that are already
written and used internally. There are written and used internally
because they are of the kind that are useful in 3d mathematics. The
boost.python framework is there, allowing them to be exposed to Python
trivially - one line of code. The availability of these functions and
methods would add performance to PyGeo. Not sure I want to have to
debate the point with anyone as to why they have not been exposed, and
whether they should be. Would like to be in a "just do it" position.
There are whole other structures - vector_arrays and scalar_arrays -
that have been exposed to Python, but, are incomplete and therefore
totally undocumented. Completing and extending them, I am feeling now,
is within my capabilities. I would like to get on with it outside of
committee type discussion.
d) VPython_main is free to access my forked versions and make their own
decisions on which changes I have made to incorporate, and which not. I
think I prefer not to be in that direct loop or advocating for this
change or that - as to VPython_main.
Wonder if anyone here has any thoughts on this.
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