- Poor documentation of core Pylons (Mako and SQLAlchemy are fine -- thanks, Mike). I had to use the source several times. I'm still not really sure how Routes works, although I was mostly able to make it do what I wanted. The first tutorial overcomplicated things, showing how to configure things to handle semi-obscure requirements, without explaining those requirements or simpler alternatives.
- Helpful community. I got most of the answers I needed pretty quickly in the #pylons freenode IRC channel.
- Not much black magic: if you know Python you won't be struggling with weird Pylons-only concepts. It's all modules, classes, and dicts put together in an intuitive way (at least to my way of thinking).
- SA (SQLAlchemy) is an amazing pleasure to use. (Okay, not just in Pylons, but I had to say it.) I have a slightly unusual schema -- the details are outside my scope here -- and SA's autoload handled it perfectly.
- I wrote more CRUD boilerplate than I would have liked. There is no real alternative to Django's "admin app." DBMechanic looks like it's getting close, but it's TG-and-Genshi only for now. FormAlchemy is a partial solution (I did use it) but only does html generation; you'll still write boilerplate in your controllers.
- Genshi appeals to me in theory but in practice its XML nature makes it feel clunky. XInclude as an alternative to template inheritance? 3 lines of xmlns per template? Mako has its own verbosity problems, e.g., having to do a def to pass a title to the parent template, but these aren't inherent to Mako's approach the way they are to Genshi's (we're XML, dammit), and Mike seems mildy interested in improving this specific example for the next release.
- The pyfacebook tutorial is long on throwing wads of code at you and short on explaining what's actually going on. What does facebook.check_session() do? What does the facebook_middleware do? Why? Most facebook api tutorials have this same problem. Obviously I haven't written a better one, so call me a hypocrite, but tutorial authors, please explain the why and not just the what.
Friday, March 07, 2008
Pylons: first impressions
A couple co-workers and I spent some time with Pylons yesterday, enough to get to where we started to feel productive, but not much more than that. I think there's value in a newbie's first impressions, so here are mine. I'm sure at least some of these are wrong.