[ann] pyjamas 0.8alpha1 release

Discussion in 'Python' started by Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton, May 4, 2011.

  1. after a long delay the pyjamas project - http://pyjs.org - has begun the
    0.8 series of releases, beginning with alpha1:


    pyjamas is a suite of projects, including a python-to-javascript
    compiler with two modes of operation (roughly classified as "python
    strict" and "Optimised"); a GUI Framework almost identical to that of
    the GWT Project (1.5 to 1.7); and a "Desktop" version which is similar
    in concept to Adobe Air, allowing python applications to be run -
    unmodified - as stand-alone Desktop Applications. pyjamas can
    therefore be considered to be a Desktop GUI framework - a peer of GTK2
    and QT4 - with the startling capability that applications can also be
    compiled to javascript and run in any modern web browser with
    absolutely no special plugins required, or it can be considered to be
    an AJAX Web Framework with the massive advantage that applications are
    written in python (not javascript) with a "Desktop" mode as well.
    both descriptions are accurate, making pyjamas the world's only free
    software python-based platform-independent, browser-independent,
    GUI-toolkit-independent and OS-independent "Holy Grail" GUI
    development environment [so there. nyer, nyer to the corporate big
    boys with access to $m who *still* haven't managed that one]

    also included are ports of GChart and GWTCanvas, each of which run
    under all web browsers and all desktop engines (with the exception at
    present of the python-webkit desktop engines, which presently do not
    support SVG Canvas). all pyjamas UI libraries are designed to be
    browser-independent as well as platform independent. the usual
    "browser foibles", tricks and gotchas are catered for with a
    transparent "Platform Override" mechanism which ensures that the
    published API of each UI Library is identical across all platforms
    (including the Desktop Engines). [no more "If Platform == IE or
    Platform == Opera...."]

    due to the sheer number of modern browsers as well as the number of
    pyjamas-desktop engines required to be supported, the 0.8 series will
    be ready declared "stable" when sufficient community-led testing has
    been done. bugreports are in for Opera 11, IE8 and Google Chrome:

    still requiring testing and confirmation is Opera 9 and 10; Firefox 2,
    3, 3.1, 3.5, 3.6 and 4.0; IE6, 7 and 9; Safari 3 and 4, as well as
    mobile phone browsers Android, Symbian Series 60, iphone, ipad and
    blackberry OS 4. also requiring testing and confirmation is the
    Desktop Engines, of which there are now four variants: XulRunner
    (Firefox Engine), pywebkitgtk, MSHTML and the new addition pywebkitdfb
    (DirectFB). each browser and each engine requires each of the 70
    examples to be run, and in the case of the pyjamas compiler (pyjs),
    compilation is required with both -O and --strict (with the exception
    of the LibTest example).

    the pywebkitdfb engine is a new addition, and merits a particular
    mention. some time last year, both GTK2 and QT4 independently
    announced that they were dropping support for DirectFB from future
    versions, and Enlightenment had not tested the DirectFB port for some
    considerable time. Webkit-GTK with the older GTK-DirectFB libraries
    simply would not compile. in the embedded space, where it can take 30
    seconds to fire up Webkit-GTK on a 400mhz ARM9 and even longer to
    start up WebkitQT4, this was something of a disaster. To fix this, a
    new port of Webkit was created which uses DirectFB directly, using a
    tiny 50k Widget Toolkit called "Lite". This development coincided
    with the re-engineering of pywebkitgtk and the creation of the
    pythonwebkit project, http://www.gnu.org/software/pythonwebkit:
    pywebkitdfb was therefore also created at the same time.

    Cutting a long story short, pywebkitdfb now exists and has a startup
    time on 400mhz ARM9 processors of under 1.5 seconds. The startup time
    of both WebkitDFB and pywebkitdfb on Dual-Core 2ghz Intel systems is
    so quick that it's difficult to determine: an estimate is under 0.1
    seconds (100ms). WebkitGTK. WebkitEFL and WebkitQT4 have
    approximately 20 times or longer startup times. So although WebkitDFB
    is still significantly experimental, it is definitely worthwhile
    considering, especially for Embedded Systems, but even for use on
    X-Windows, and even just as a plain (but modern) web browser for those
    people sick to the back teeth of long startup times on their web
    browser [and it has python bindings, too. yaay!]

    summary: developing applications in pyjamas means the application can
    be made to run just about anywhere, and it's an entirely python-based
    and a free software framework. it's a community-driven project, so
    requires *your* input to get it to a proven stable state.

    Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton, May 4, 2011
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