Q: The roles of Python

Jp Calderone exarkun at intarweb.us
Sat Apr 5 20:42:35 CEST 2003

On Sat, Apr 05, 2003 at 01:08:24PM -0800, Carl Waldbieser wrote:
> It seems obvious to me how Python can be extremely useful on the server side
> of a distributed application, but I was wondering if it has been widely used
> on the client side of such applications or in desktop applications in
> general.  Are there some good articles on the issues associated with using
> Python in this way?  If you wrote a desktop application in Python, are there
> any examples of how you would distribute Python with your application?  How
> transparent would (or could?) the process be to the end user?

  This question is asked here frequently.  It is answered in the archives
and the FAQ.

> I think Python offers a lot of advantages over the other two big choices in
> the Windows scripting world (JScript and VBScript), notably the fact that it
> seems a lot easier to organize Python scripts into discrete modules.  It has
> been my experience that in big applications, the other scripting engines I
> have used tend to have problems with colliding names, and information tends
> to be passed between scripts using global variables.  The net result is that
> they tend to get very messy and hard to debug very quickly.

  Luckily, Python isn't a "scripting engine".  It's a programming language. 
It scales to large projects easily.

> I think that Python scripts could be a lot easier to manage than other
> scripting enviornments, but I have not heard much about Python being used
> much behind the scenes in desktop scenarios.

  I think you're right.

> Also, I would be very interested in hearing about client-side and desktop
> applications where the application was written primarily in Python rather
> than simply being the scripting engine.

  I don't know what kind of applications you're thinking of, but I've
developed a couple "client-side" apps in Python that were also scriptable in
Python.  It's all pretty straightforward.  The one thing Python can't give
you (yet) that some of those "scripting engines" might offer is something
resembling a secure, restricted execution environment.

> Thanks for any insights and information in advance!

  Hope this helps,


A sad spectacle.  If they be inhabited, what a scope for misery 
and folly.  If they be not inhabited, what a waste of space.
                -- Thomas Carlyle, looking at the stars
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