Ian Bicking: the old part of his blog

Re: More Python, Education

I started programming 26 years ago, and the first program I wrote was a little tank twirling in different directions and prowling around the screen: I got such a buzz from that experience, I'll NEVER forget it: I was hooked, excited and motivated to learn more (I've been programming ever since) - for me the graphical element was crucial (I was 14 at the time), so I can fully understand the Logo-like mindset of including simple graphics as a learning tool.

That first language was Basic, and since, I've used C/C++/Java/Perl/Assembler (and a few others) for work, but until I came across Python (about 6/7 years ago), I didn't really ENJOY programming like I did at the start. Python gave me that buzz because it let me DO THINGS, and do them quickly and easily (much as I could with those original 8k BASIC interpreters and a few peeks and pokes).

Now, to get back more to the topic of graphics: over the last few years, I've been re-visiting graphics, using Python of course, on the web (SVG/CSS) and locally using Tk; AnyGui; PyGame; WxPython. Anygui was my favourite project as it abstracted the details, but, as we know, it didn't get completed. However, my experiments with this and PyGame and wx all lead me to the conclusion that it would be incredibly useful to have a REALLY SIMPLE graphics capability accessible from the python standard library. Now, I don't want a simple wrapper around existing libraries as they all seem to require a little too much boilerplate code to do simple things: what we need is something a lot more akin to Logo, but perhaps updated to allow more complex, modern graphics. I'm not sure of the exact form that this might take (although PyGame goes some way towards providing the capability), but I, for one, agree that it should be done.

P.S. I'm a Vim/command line guy and never use an IDE if I can avoid it, but I have found Eclipse useful for Java coding, and I also agree that a usable IDE is important for approachability (if only to avoid typing pydoc -g :)

Best Regards, Tushar.

Comment on More Python, Education
by Tushar

Comments:

I think we are pretty much on the same page.

My main Python project is itself devoted to graphics:

http://pygeo.sourceforge.net

Graphics are motivational and the feedback loop of code to graphics has been important for me.

An IDE has not been.

I also am in agreement as to the fact that it would be wonderful to have some high potency graphical capabilities within the Python standard distribution.

The most likely candidate might be VPython:

www.vpython.org.

I think it is in the right spirit and has the kind of small footprint that would make it appropriate as a battery included. I think the main push back is crossplatform issues - it has some fairly exotic dependencies on Linux, does not run natively on Mac, and the more exotic OS's I would suspect might be even more problematic.

Though none of this sounds unsolveable with reasonable effort.

Art

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