lost interest?

David Brady daves_spam_dodging_account at yahoo.com
Mon Dec 10 22:15:32 CET 2001

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Chris Barker [mailto:chrishbarker at attbi.com]
> Justin Sheehy wrote:
> > I'd ask a different question from yours.  Why is
> > it a problem that Python doesn't have an
> > equivalent to CPAN?  "Perl has it" isn't
> > enough.

...because Ruby might get one?  ;-)

> A big problem I have seen is people not wanting to
> use exactly the
> module they really nedd because it is "not part of
> the standard
> distirubion". If it was a whole lot easier to find,
> get and install
> third-party packages, perhaps this concern would go
> away.

Here's a story from my perl days.  Imagine this
existed for Python, and then decide if you're willing
to continue suffering without this feature.... :-)

In my last job, we added perl to the "required tools"
of a 50-developer team spread across 5 U.S. cities and
Europe.  We found a Very Clever thing that perl could
do to make sure our datasets were intact, and to
autotest each developer's code as it was written. 
This amount of autochecking and testing was necessary
because it wasn't convenient for me to fly to--or even
call, really--Germany and scream at the developer
there if she broke the build.  Nor her at me when I
did (which was far more likely).

The problem was, half the developers on the team
didn't know perl, and didn't want to learn it.  And of
the 12 or so "apps" written in perl, 8 required
modules not packaged with the ActiveState perl distro.
 Our manager looked at the first 5 or 6 apps that we
were using in our home office, and vetoed them unless
we could find a way to resolve the I.T. nightmare of
getting all the developers on the same page with a
perl distro that could run our apps.

Because CPAN existed, we were able to easily write an
"autoinstaller" module.  Every time you ran one of our
scripts, it checked the requirements, and if you were
missing a module, it went out, got the module,
installed it, and then resumed running.  You didn't
even have to restart the script.  If you didn't have a
module, you just had to wait an extra minute or two
the first time the script ran.

I am on a new team now, and I am evangeling Python far
and wide.  One of the biggest roadblocks I've
encountered is telling people, "Okay, get Python.  Now
get win32all.  Now get wxPython.  Now get mx..." 
Granted, with a "CPyAN", they'd still have to go get
them.  But it wouldn't be long before autoinstallers
began appearing that would make life much easier for
all concerned.

*shrug*  I love Python.  I've been programming Python
for 2 months now, and I have completely caught up and
surpassed the skill I had after 3 years of hacking
perl.  Absence of a CPyAN won't stop me from using
Python.  But it would be really, really cool to have

Just my $0.02.  (Quite the bargain, on a strictly
per-word basis!)


David Brady
daves_spam_dodging_account at yahoo.com
I'm feeling very surreal today... or *AM* I?

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