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Python Toys For Programmers on the Edge


Python programmers who like life out on the edge have two new play things this week -- Gordon McMillan's Stackless tutorial and examples, and a very buggy preview release of Komodo.

Gordon McMillan will be writing the Stackless Python Enhancement Proposal (PEP), a proposal for adding Stackless to the Python core. In preparation for that, he has published a tutorial for Stackless and a full-featured example of its power on his web site. If you have not yet migrated to Python 2.0, consider a little detour to explore this strange variation on Python. I suggest you go through Gordon's material backwards. Install Stackless Python, then go straight for the final example in McMillan's Stackless introduction, the SelectDispatcher example. It is a fully multiplexed FTP server for Windows. He uses Stackless Python to implement an event dispatcher similar to asyncore. Basically this asyncore replacement is used to dispatch socket events. The FTP server demonstrates how you use the dispatcher. Don't even try to understand it just yet, just install it and start transferring files. Ooh and ah over it a bit. Then go for the tutorial.

David Ascher quietly announced last week that a preview release of Komodo is now available. Komodo is an integrated debugging environment (IDE) that Guido van Rossum describes as "the GUI that IDLE wanted to be." This preview release is only available for systems running Windows NT or Windows 2000. You must also be running ActivePython. Since I am running neither, I haven't played with it yet, but I did see a demonstration of it at the Open Source Conference in Monterey. It looked very interesting. Komodo is an application based on the Mozilla framework. That is to say, it's a Mozilla application. It runs in Mozilla. I know I am repeating myself -- it just boggles my mind. Check out the articles we published on building a game in Mozilla for more information on the Mozilla framework.

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

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