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Python: Gentoo, Flags and the IDE Thonny

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Development
  • Handling PEP 517 (pyproject.toml) packages in Gentoo

    So far, the majority of Python packages have either used distutils, or a build system built upon it. Most frequently, this was setuptools. All those solutions provided a setup.py script with a semi-standard interface, and we were able to handle them reliably within distutils-r1.eclass. PEP 517 changed that.

    Instead of a setup script, packages now only need to supply a declarative project information in pyproject.toml file (fun fact: TOML parser is not even part of Python stdlib yet). The build system used is specified as a combination of a package requirement and a backend object to use. The backends are expected to provide a very narrow API: it’s limited to building wheel packages and source distribution tarballs.

    The new build systems built around this concept are troublesome to Gentoo. They are more focused on being standalone package managers than build systems. They lack the APIs matching our needs. They have large dependency trees, including circular dependencies. Hence, we’ve decided to try an alternate route.

    Instead of trying to tame the new build systems, or work around their deficiencies (i.e. by making them build wheel packages, then unpacking and repackaging them), we’ve explored the possibility of converting the pyproject.toml files into setup.py scripts. Since the new formats are declarative, this should not be that hard.

  • Consider absl Python library to work with flags

    I have been writing a small scraping application these days. I wanted it to send metrics and use chromedriver. I also wanted to be able to run it locally and don’t send metrics while running locally. So, I needed some way to separate local and production environments. The easiest way to do that — use flags.

  • Xmas present from Thonny

    Today, a new version (3.2.5) of Thonny has been released. It incorporates support for Friendly-traceback (which needs to be installed separately). Currently, the download link on Thonny's homepage still links to version 3.2.4. The latest version can be found on Github.

    Thonny is a fantastic IDE for beginners, especially those learning in a classroom environment, as it offers many useful tools that can be used effectively by teachers to demonstrate some programming concepts. Thonny is the work of Aivar Annamaa, who is apparently recognized as an excellent lecturer -- which does not suprise me given the thoughtful design of Thonny. He has been interviewed about Thonny on PythonPodcast.

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