Skip to main content


Showing posts from April, 2008

How to piss off your customers in two easy steps

Don't communicate with them Treat them like they owe you something Google is off to a good (bad?) start with both of these in its management of the App Engine release. Of the 120+ issues logged by beta testers, a few have been closed as wontfix or duplicate; most have no response at all from the App Engine team. I can't think of any other company that I've filed an issue with that took that long to get back to me. The good ones get back within hours. The one exception I have seen is for the urllib issue , where, presumably Guido, wrote Providing a urllib replacement implemented on top of urlfetch shouldn't be particularly hard. If someone is willing to produce one, I'd be happy to review it and, if it passes muster, try to get it added. Paraphrased: "maybe if you do our work for us we'll consider it." WTF! This isn't OSS, where "if you want something, do it yourself" is at least a semi-valid response. Ap

The business case for Google App Engine

App Engine sure has caused a stir . Some of the competition is already scared , with reason. But who is App Engine's real competition? In a lot of ways, App Engine is in a class by itself. It competes on the high end with Amazon Web Services . But it also competes on the low end with every shared host out there. And thanks to the integration of Google authentication and the application directory you could also make a case that in an orthogonal way it competes with Facebook's application API. At the low end, App Engine is a big deal for Python developers and anyone else who is allergic to PHP. Historically, you've really had to look hard for low end hosting that offered anything else. And as everyone who has given products away to colleges knows, Free is a fantastic hook to get developers to try out your platform. Once it's open for all, App Engine is going to become the preferred option for developers with the itch to write a toy or proof of concept and show

Language popularity, App Engine - style

Just for fun, here's the number of stars (interested people) for the different language-support feature requests for Google App Engine: Perl: 85 Java: 69 Ruby: 67 PHP: 23 C#: 11 jvm, not just java: 7 Common Lisp: 5 Update: Perl is stuffing the ballot box :)

Google App Engine: Return of the Unofficial Python Job Board Feed

Over three years ago (!), I wrote a screen scraper to turn the Python Job Board into an RSS feed. It didn't make it across one of several server moves since then, but now I've ported it to Google's App Engine: the new unofficial python job board feed . I'll be making a separate post on the Google App Engine business model and when it makes sense to consider the App Engine for a product. Here I'm going to talk about my technical impressions. First, here's the source . Nothing fancy. The only App Engine-specific API used is urlfetch. Unfortunately, even something this simple bumps up against some pretty rough edges in App Engine. It's going to be a while before this is ready for production use. The big one is scheduled background tasks . (If you think this is important, star the issue rather than posting a "me too" comment.) Related is a task queue that would allow those scheduled tasks to easily be split into bite-size pieces, which i

My half-baked thoughts on Python web frameworks

I have been lucky to be able to fill our recent open positions with people who know Python as well as Java so now we are up to half the (6 person) company in that category and preferring Python, and 2 of the others have played with Python and liked it at least well enough to not object. So the boss has conceded that it makes sense to go the Python route for our next project. We're going to be doing a web, "next gen" version of our existing client-server project, which is mostly simple CRUD but does have 1000+ tables in its current incarnation. So we really need something that can autogenerate 90+% of the CRUD or we will go insane. The trouble is, I still don't really like any of the Python web options 100%. (I like the web options in other languages less, but I'm a perfectionist.) Django is well documented, its admin app is something everyone else envies, and newforms looks decent, but the ORM blows and I'm not fond of the template engine either. (

Real Python IDEs

After reading a blog post titled "The Abysmal State of Python IDEs" (which I won't link to because it's minformative, but it's easy to google by title), I wondered how the author managed to pick such a lousy group of IDEs to try. He tried "ActiveState" (does he mean PythonWin?), DrPython, SPE, and ScrIDE, only one of which is in the top 10 google hits for Python IDE. The google top 10 include Eric, Wing IDE, Radio Userland, SPE, PyDev, and Komodo. The Yahoo and MSN top 10s are similar. Except for Radio Userland, this is a much better group to start with, and one that in fact does include what I think are the only 3 Python IDEs worth trying. So how does a newbie end up picking such a lousy group of IDEs to try? The only likely possibility seems to be that he went to the top google hit, the wiki page. Or possibly he went off of the top MSN hit, the c2 wiki Python IDE page. Both are (rather, were) heaping wads of products that mostly we