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Ovid (2709)

Ovid
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Stuff with the Perl Foundation. A couple of patches in the Perl core. A few CPAN modules. That about sums it up.

Journal of Ovid (2709)

Wednesday December 11, 2002
04:20 PM

Joel On Software

[ #9388 ]

Love him or hate him, Joel's got another article out. Amongst the many interesting points:

Mitch Kapor, who founded Lotus and created 123, decided for his next application to go with something called wxWindows and wxPython for cross platform support.

We have started building desktop applications to manage some of our Web services in part because clients tend to be more impressed with desktop apps. When you're trying to obtain funding and win contracts, showing them your beautiful (*cough*) Web applications doesn't impress. Many companies with beautiful Web applications found themselves selling their office furniture in the end. Since we decided to go this route, one of our programmers investigated several possibilities. As we were not going to go the .NET route, VB was ruled out (VB6 is no longer supported). We narrowed the choices down to Java, Perl, Ruby, and Python.

Java was ruled out quickly as being slow, buggy, and had too many issues with not allowing the programmer the fine-grained control that is often desired for a desktop application. Perl, regrettably, forced extra complications on us for distribution and was more difficult to support (and we'll not talk about threading). Ruby simply wasn't far enough along, but that would have been awesome. Python, on the other hand, had impressive support, was easy to bundle and distribute and was relatively quick to develop in. In fact, the desktop apps -- which I have not had the chance to work on -- have been so fast and responsive that they could be mistaken for an app written in Visual C++. We've been very happy with it.

Now, when can we get this convenience with Perl?

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  • See AmphetaDesk [amphetadesk.com] for an example of a well-bundled GUI program written in Perl. I believe that threading is there in 5.8--the mod_perl folks seem to be very happy with it.

    --Nat

    • It seems that the author of AmphetaDesk is a wee bit bitter. Comments from Ampheta.pl

      # Dedicated to all the companies who wait until a large user base becomes
      # dependant on their freeware, then shafting said happy campers with
      # mandatory payment for continued usage. I spit on your grave.
  • I've not used it much for GUI stuff, but I think PerlApp [activestate.com] is great. I make simple installers with NSIS [nullsoft.com] and I've never had any problems. I've shipped apps to a dozen or so companies (many who depend on it for the day to day running of their business). Perl saves the day again!

    Something that is on my todo is to learn wxWindows, so I can write stuff that will work on Linux/OS X/Windows. I attempted to learn it once but found the lack of documentation frustrating. I don't really have much of a choice as I've h

    • I have to confess that I also disagree with him from time to time. For example, in his latest article, he writes the following:

      Becoming proficient, really proficient, in just one programming world takes years. Sure, lots of bright teenagers learn Delphi one week and Python the next week and Perl the next week and think they are proficient.

      On the surface, I agree with that. I was certainly one of those cocksure "I can program anything" types and I faced my comeuppance once I started hanging out at Perl

      • This argument is also known as the "university education" argument.

        The idea being that in university you pick up your theoretical knowledge, all the concepts and ideas, and have some practical applications of said knowledge (usually in some either ancient or obscure language).

        With that knowledge, you can pick up any language.

        You then have the joy of adjusting to management who give 'fun' specifications.

        Others seem to think that theory is bunk and you become a good programmer merely by doing lots of prog
        --
          ---ict / Spoon
  • Did you go with wxPython or some other GUI tookit?
    • I don't work on the Python side, so I could be mistaken, but I seem to recall that wxPython was the choice. The programmer who's handling that is generally pretty careful about researching things, but I don't know his reasoning for this choice.