[meta-sig] Re: [Python-Dev] CPAN-for-Python

Thomas Wouters thomas@xs4all.net
Thu, 2 Nov 2000 17:38:47 +0100

On Thu, Nov 02, 2000 at 06:09:08PM +0200, Moshe Zadka wrote:

> I'm moving this discussion to meta-sig. Please discuss it there.

Ack! Freeze, don't move, while I subscribe to that list! ;) 

Do we need a justification for that SIG ? A central-but-distributed
repository for Python modules (both C and .py), as well as an easy way to
search, download and install them, has been a big (and growing) wish of
everyone from newbie to experienced developer. With the 1.0 release of
Distutils, we have the easy way to install them, and _a_ way to download
them (by hand;), but the central repository, with search capabilities, and
with easy access is still missing. There is the Vaults of Parnassus, which
is definately cool, but it isn't distributed and it isn't accessible (as far
as I know) by anything other than a webbrowser.

WebDAV is a standardized way to do both uploading, and property-management
over HTTP. As Greg so enthousiastically (and effectively) has been
preaching, this means it can make use of all existing HTTP infrastructure
(proxies, SOCKS servers, SSL(!), firewall allowances, etc) and that the
basis of connection/retrieval is already present, in the Python standard
library. WebDAV also allows arbitrary properties to be set, on files, and
allows searching on those properties. That could be used to index types of
modules, functionality, dependancies, conflicts, etcetera.

The mod_dav Apache module is currently an add-on module for Apache 1.3.x,
but a standard module in 2.0, and there is good WebDAV client support for
both Python and C. (And a few WebDAV servers written in Python as well, I
believe.) There are applications and extentions for Windows, Macintosh and
GNOME that (near-)seamlessly merge a local filesystem and a WebDAV
'filesystem', meaning you could browse through the module list and search
the modules without any specific Python tool installed. Lacking those, you
could still browse the list, since it's a simple HTTP website as well, and
optionally use server-side search scripts. 

That said, WebDAV is relatively new, and not all webservers support it yet.
Not do all potential clients, for that matter. I think that's not a problem
for a distributed module archive for Python, since the servers will have to
run 'custom' code whichever way we go; either to allow searching, or to
index the modules at every update. WebDAV is the way of least resistance, in
my eyes. As for client support, Greg Stein wrote the client support for
WebDAV, and I doubt it will be orphaned anytime soon. The same goes for
Neon, the C library written by Joe Orton, should we ever need to use it.


Sorry, never asked for a SIG before, so I don't know what's required ;)
I think it should be a separate SIG, though, rather than do it under the
distutils SIG, since it's definately a different subject, and they can be
cleanly separated.

Brainwashed-ly y'rs,

Thomas Wouters <thomas@xs4all.net>

Hi! I'm a .signature virus! copy me into your .signature file to help me spread!