Python for a quick prototyping29 Oct 2014
Lately I was looking for a simple app to help me manage priorities on my todo list, and when I realized that there is no app which could satisfy me I’ve decided to create my own. So what did I need from such app is simply organize data output, in other words print lines of data in a particular area of the window and some colors to distinguish things. I already have script which I am using to enter data and I am fairly happy with it. Almost forgotten, another requirement that I had back then is app has to be GUI form and work under Linux.
I’ve started looking on what will get me up and running as fast as I can, because surely if you want to achieve performance you would choose something as close to native as possible, C++ for example, but I was not going to write new game and do not need performance of native app. I could have done it in a bash script, but then remember I wanted GUI form. I’ve decided to look into scripting languages and accidentally came across next tutorial “The Python GTK+ 3 Tutorial” which is describing how to use GTK+ 3 with Python. I’ve glanced a bit just to realize this is it, it’s so easy to prototype something with Python that close to impossible to find something better. Few key strokes and you have GTK+ window instantiated, of course you have to spend some time in Glade designing window and then exporting it into XML, but then with just few lines of code and you have working application. I was impressed, but it does not stop there, Python is cross platform so is GTK. It is also easy to integrate with some of Ubuntu elements, in fact there are a lot of apps written in Python for Ubuntu.
Well unfortunately it’s not all about positive sides there are drawbacks, probably biggest one that it require interpreter to execute and then there is Python’s syntax, I’ve realized that I really hate syntax, you also need a good editor to overcome most obvious error when writing Python app - “Indentation Error”. I had few of those in my very simple app, that required me to review my vim config and adjust it.
So here we go, I’ve started with no Python knowledge what so ever, and then glancing through tutorials in 2 hours I have nice GTK+ app just what I was looking for.
In conclusion I could say that it was a lot of fun to learn something totally new and Python is probably one of the best scripting languages for quick prototyping of GUI applications, it’s irreplaceable if you want quickly throw something together especially under Linux, it also cross platform, so you could use same code on different OS, with some modifications of course, syntax of Python is not something I would really enjoy, but after all syntax does not really matter a lot.