May 27, 2010

Python 3 frameworks anyone ?

First, I'm happy to announce that I have just released the next version of Pythomnic3k, a Python 3 framework to develop SOA middleware.

But I'd also like to share with you the big question of this Python 3 framework.

I have been working on its predecessor Pythomnic (similar, but written in Python 2) in 2005-2007 using it for integrating various systems in some bank. It worked, but as any software being developed in ad-hoc manner became messy over time. Not to mention the fact that as I learned Python, the old code looked uglier every day.

And so, as of early 2008, along with the first Python 3 betas being released, I decided that Pythomnic needed a complete redesign and rewrite exclusively in brand new Python ! Pythomnic3k was in development ever since. It has a nice and clean upfront design, based on 3 years of experience with Pythomnic, it's written much better, and it is has extensive self-tests. Which is to say, it is a quality piece of software. I spent next 1.5 years polishing it, until release 1.0 was finally published in 2009. Release 1.1 which I believe I've already announced, came out after some 8 more months of refinement.

All this time I kept using it for what, for the same integration tasks - connecting point A to point B, transforming messages, supporting various protocols. In the company I work for, it is used for delivering bank transfers and billing payments, sending SMS notifications (contains full implementation of SMPP 3.4 among other things), providing cryptographic network services of various sorts, and just about anything. In short, it serves as a middleware glue, and if I'm allowed to judge, it fits the bill.

Now, the big question is - was it really beneficial to switch to Python 3 starting a new development ? Take a look at the list of Python 3 packages. The language is around for 2 years, and there is like what, 50 of them ? Out of which many are one-module utilities ? Give me a break.

Python 3 looked promising, although it was not immediately apparent, what new features are the killer ones. Frankly, I'm still not sure. I love the syntax improvements and the correct str/bytes, but what else ? Am I missing the wave or it is not there yet ?

Anyway, Pythomnic3k architecture has very little dependencies, it is a pretty much self-contained framework, which means that it doesn't suffer from the lack of anything in particular in Python 3 libraries, but I would still love to see more Python 3 libraries around to have them plugged to the framework.