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Tools of PyCon 2009

April 13, 2009

Having attended PyCon 2009 in Chicago I would like to highlight a few tools which were demonstrated and I feel stood out from the crowd.



It’s safe to assume you have read online tutorials for a programming language and had the following setup: a) a web browser window open displaying the tutorial documentation, b) IDE / Command Prompt open to write and execute code, c) multiple monitors so you can show it all at once (if you’re lucky).  Crunchy takes a different approach and delivers HTML formatted documents with an interactive python shell so that you can try the code snippets as you encounter them.  A demonstration of this tool included the user being able to read the requirements for a function, implement that function to the best of their ability, and finally execute pre-existing unit tests to check if their implementation works!



It can be annoying running a time-consuming python program and after 2 minutes of execution you find there is a problem and have to start over.  This would really start to gnaw at your patience if this happened a few more times.  Wouldn’t it be great to have a Python shell that clearly showed you which line the execution was hanging on, allow you to make a fix, and then only re-execute the code that is necessary to realize your change?  This Python graphical shell implements this, and more, great functionality which I really hope to see adopted elsewhere.



Chances are this has happened to you or someone you know:

You plan on demoing some code to a group of peers.  You begin to code and upon execution you get an error.  You try to recover but are too nervous and cannot get the %&*$ thing to run.  The demo ends with an awkward bit of silence and a brief apology.

First of all, let’s avoid live code demos.  Second, let’s pretend they’re live demos!  For those of you who don’t know, a Player Piano is a self playing piano running pre-programmed music.   PlayerPiano is a great python tool that runs doctests inside a fake Python shell; effectively it runs your pre-programmed demo while you can focus on speaking and paying attention to your audience.

Please, please, please no more live code demos.

By: Logan Peters

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