[Web-SIG] Regarding the WSGI draft

Ian Bicking ianb at colorstudy.com
Fri Aug 27 18:23:02 CEST 2004

Ben Sizer wrote:
>> Any approach that ignores the economic reality of present-day Python 
>> web apps, and provides no way for them to migrate gradually to a new 
>> standard, is doomed to niche status at best.
> I see your point but I look at this from the other side; any approach
> that is focused on the current niche status of Python web apps, is
> doomed to perpetuate that niche status. No new framework or API or
> 'standard' Python web service is going to break existing code, just
> provide an alternative. Why therefore is there such a focus on
> accommodating existing users and having them migrate over? This sounds
> too much like preaching to the converted to me.

Well, from a purely sociological tack: We need to pay attention to 
current frameworks because this is open source -- it's not just a matter 
of converting users, it's a matter of converting contributing 
developers.  Getting a bunch of users only helps an open source project 
if those users contribute back to the project.  Past performance is some 
indication of future success, so it's best to try to get *current* open 
source web developers on board.

>> And so, the only way we're going to "steal" the marketshare of
>> existing frameworks is with the consent and co-operation of the
>> developers of those frameworks.
> I don't think the idea is to steal the marketshare of existing
> frameworks, as you put it. Rather, I'd think it would be about apturing
> the imagination of the average developer who would appreciate Python as
> a language. Some people won't use ASP because of the Microsoft aspect,
> or won't use PHP because of the Perl/C syntax. These are people who
> would probably be very interested in using an open language such as
> Python for this sort of thing.
>> First, the current situation.  Choice of framework is a high 
>> investment for users, because once they choose, they are stuck with 
>> that framework and possibly server.
> This is why I would like Python to have web support in the standard
> library that is on a high enough level that you don't necessarily need a
> framework to achieve something useful.

We already have that support, and it even works pretty well with WSGI: 
the cgi module.  What, the cgi module is stupid and annoying you say? 
(Well, if you won't say it I will.)  To me that's evidence that Just Any 
Old Thing won't do.

> I readily agree that something such as WSGI would nicely form the
> backbone of the interchangeable modules. All I disagree with that you
> should then /need/ one of these competing frameworks on top of that
> before you can do anything useful. Hence my worry about the insistence
> on such frameworks. As it stands, web development is pretty much the
> only commonplace task that I can't achieve with Python using either the
> standard library or an obvious 3rd party package.

Why is WSGI's limited scope a problem?  I feel fairly certain that we 
can get WSGI approved and start building things on it fairly soon, but 
anything more expansive will take much, much longer to move forward on. 
  Your more expansive desires have been out there for a long time, if 
not proposed by yourself, proposed by other people (including me).  And 
yet there's been little forward movement in terms of any standard. 
"Little" is probably an overstatement in that last sentence.  We are 
moving ahead with a smaller step -- that's still much more forward 
progress than before.

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

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