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Tlousky (9495)

Tlousky
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Journal of Tlousky (9495)

Tuesday December 01, 2009
10:06 AM

Perl and 3D animation software

One of my most relaxing hobbies is playing around with graphics programs.

About a year ago, I started playing with Autodesk Maya, then learned some photoshop. Once I got more familiarized with opensource software, I naturally made a transition to playing with Blender and GIMP.

GIMP is a wonderful piece of software in my opinion. It has become my default image editor, texture creator and general purpose 2D playground.
I'll probably dedicate a post or several to it in the future, as I've been trying my luck with the GIMP::Fu module.

But when playing with 3D progs such as Maya and Blender, I came to discover that Perl isn't internatlly supported in most 3D animation programs. These usually have built-in support for Python, and often another language (like Maya's MEL), but no perl for the masses.

That's pretty frustrating if you ask me. With the all the excellent features of perl (CPAN being one of them), it seems odd to me that perl is ignored so completely by 3D animation developers.

If I want to write a perl script for Blender, I have to learn how to make a binding for it's source C libraries (and probably invest lots of time re-learning C to understand what I'm doing).
This is a worthy endeavour as it will create the necessary glue for writing perl scripts for Blender in general, and I have been contemplating this (together with a friend) - but it's probably gonn'a take time, a resource I have don't have much of lately.

In Maya, which is not an open source program, there's nothing for it but learning Python or MEL.

Sucks.

Not much here but venting. It's hard for me to complain too much about Blender, which doesn't cease to amaze me with its strength and sophistication, despite that fact that it's so lightweight (and of course, free!). But it would really be excellent if I could use Perl for Blender scripting.

Seems like I'm not the only one who thinks this is a good idea. Back in 2004, there was a discussion about this in the Blender Foundation's forums.
I decided it's been long enough since, so I brought this up again.

I Hope somebody listens :-)
And if someone might read this post and decide to add some supportive messages in that thread, be my guest!

Sunday November 22, 2009
05:39 AM

Padre - coding and editing in comfort

For a while now, I've been under some pressure to adopt vim as my default text (and code) editor. This stems from the very harsh fact, that in my type of job (which now involves a lot of sys and net administration), I often have almost no reasonable alternative to it.

When I hook up into a remote server, vim is often the only highly functional editor with syntax highlighting.

At the beginning it was absolute hell. The very basic copy & paste seemed so elusive, and getting used to editing and command modes was pretty difficult. But I made all the necessary efforts, acquired a whole book dedicated to vim and printed out all the shortcuts and keyboard commands in a nice little booklet.
And I can honestly say now that I'm perfectly fine with this text editor and get what I want from it fairly smoothly and quickly.

But that doesn't mean I'm happy with it. I know this is the laughing matter for hardened old-school Linux users, but I'm still vastly more comfortable with GUI based editors like Notepad++.

For some time now, an even better GUI based editor is around, designed especially for Perl programmers. I'm talking about Portable Padre, of course, an opensource text editor with many great plug-ins and a very comfortable interface.

Why am I more comfortable with this kind of editor? I'll use metaphors from the motorcycling world to illustrate this.
If vim is a spartan, razor-sharp superbike, with a powerful motor, rigid chassis and track configured suspension, Padre is a high tech sport-tourer with the latest technology and excellent components encompassed in a beautifully designed and extremely comfortable bodywork.
Maybe a world class superbike racer could ride the sportbike faster on the race-track, but on an ordinary, everyday environment, most people will be faster with the sport-tourer, and it can carry you comfortably for hours on end.

Padre has some very nice features which make it even more comfortable for Perl developers.
* You can easily execute your script with F5, and see the output in the output window.
* Recent versions have nice debugging aids, which include warnings for common errors such as undeclared variables and missing braces.
* Those of us who commonly write moduls can create them with Module::Starter through Padre's GUI.
* It's possible to show all functions on a nice frame on the right and jump between one and the other.
* Padre can be installed on either a Linux or Windows machine. It used to be difficult on Linux due to problems with installing Wx Widgets libraries, but now there's an official Ubuntu .deb package or a windows Binary installation file. Padre looks and works the same on any of the supported operating systems.
This short description doesn't even start to scratch the long list of features Padre has.

I recently had the opportunity to hear Padre's founder, SZABGAB, talk about the great plans Padre's developers have for it, which include an integration of the Perl Data Language, Parrot and other stuff.

But bottom line?
I use Padre because it's a beautifully designed, comfortable everyday editor.
Highly recommended for anyone who feels like he/she's sweating with vim or other editors.

Tuesday November 17, 2009
06:03 AM

Primer

First post.
Awkward as it ever could be. This is my ver 2.0 in blogging. The last version, attempted quite a few years ago, didn't last too long. Hopefully this one will last longer and be more useful!

I'm a fledgling Perl programmer (~8 months around), navigating the currents created by vastly more experienced and knowledgeable users.

But I love this language, and have lots of plans and ambitions to learn more and put it to use in work and fun related issues (which happily intermix quite frequently).

I enjoy Perl both because of it's many advantages, and since it introduced me to the wonders of the open source world. I have to shamefully admit that before this beneficial introduction, I looked down upon OSS, mostly due to ignorance.

These days I'm a happy user of both Perl, and other wonderful programs such as Linux, GIMP, Inkscape, Blender, Git, SVN and many others. One of my current points of focus is producing graphics with perl scripting. I've begun writing a tree generator script using the excellent module SVG. This already works but still lacks some functions and will be published quite soon I hope - after I decide on a suitable namespace.

I've actually been quite impressed with SVG and will likely write some posts about it in the future.

Fist post: over and out.