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GUI Fun While Waiting for 2.0

09/06/2000

News flash! While this article was waiting for editing Python 2.0b was announced. Too late for this article. If you don't mind beta software, download it and tell me what you think in the oreillynet.python forum. Not ready for beta? Read on, I have something else for you to play with. -fig

I had hoped this week's news would be about Monday's release of Python 2.0b, but come Tuesday afternoon, the closest thing I had to celebrate is the final release of Python 1.6.

The release of Python 1.6 is such an anti-climactic event. It will be current for only the short while that we wait for 2.0. I don't feel a need to rush out and download it myself. While CNRI and BeOpen were haggling over the license, Python 2.0 development has moved on. The release of a beta is so close it almost could have been yesterday. Quite literally.

Hurrah! 1.6 is here now, yet we can't even celebrate the resolution of the Virginia clause matter. Richard Stallman and CNRI still don't agree. CNRI rightly states that a license not grounded in a particular set of laws can be interpreted and reinterpreted wherever anyone wishes to challenge it. To avoid this, CNRI wants the Virginia clause which states that the license must be interpreted according to the laws of Virginia, the state CNRI is in. Stallman, however, feels this makes it incompatible with the GNU Public License (GPL). So the CNRI license remains in GPL limbo.

If you too are left uninspired by this 1.6 release, here is something to cheer you up. Get Boa Constructor. BoaConstructor 0.0.4 was just released. While that is not the most impressive release number, this GUI development tool won't disappoint you. Making your programs good looking just got a lot easier. Based on wxPython, Boa Constructor will have you whipping out good-looking wxWindows GUIs in a jiffy. It will work fine with Python 1.5.2, and if you have forged ahead to 1.6, a separate build is available that works with that too.

wxWindows is a set of cross-platform libraries written in C++. It's free, licensed under the L-GPL. If you are developing on multiple platforms, you might appreciate its aesthetics over the clunkier Tk or even Qt. Thanks to Robin Dunn, among others, wxWindows is made available to Python programers with wxPython. You can find a quick introduction to wxPython on the O'Reilly network. As easy as wxPython is, pointing and clicking to generate your code is even easier, and that is what Boa Constructor lets you do.

No longer look upon your fellow programmer's visual development tools with envy. Get Boa Constructor and give that old Tkinter-based program a facelift and new life. Impress your clients and amaze your friends. Best of all, you won't know where the time went. That 2.0 version of Python will be along in a jiffy.

Well, maybe. At least you will have something fun to do while you wait.

Stephen Figgins administrates Linux servers for Sunflower Broadband, a cable company.

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