Most Bizarre Python Developer Rant

Posted by Tejus Parikh on May 29, 2008

When working on Appcelerator’s AppEngine support, I needed to find some API documentation for Beaker. I didn’t find it, but I did find this gem.

This guy can’t figure out why companies (or individual developers) would ever pay money for a hosted DVCS repository. The great thing about DVCS is that you don’t need a centralized repository. Unfortunately, this independence from centralization goes away once you have to give your software to somebody. At that point, one repository becomes the master. You could just go round-robin and pick the source off one of the developer’s boxes. You could also jump out of an airplane without a parachute. Just because you can do it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

Which leaves you with two options:

Option one is fight with budgeting to get a box to hold the repository. Since it probably has to be somewhat beefy, it probably just can’t come out of the normal budget. This means you talk to budgeting. Once you get the box, you need to install the software on it and connect it to the network. So now the IT department is involved. Get a developer to write a script to back up the repository regularly. Bring in the development department. Find a place to back up the repository. Figure out some way for developers to push and pull code to the master from off-site (often this means you have to poke a hole through a firewall). In a small company, that’s all one person, and the whole process takes a few hours. In a larger company, that’s three different departments, which means conference calls, emails, arguments, angst, internal billing negotiations, and a process that could take anywhere from a week to years.

Or you can pay $100/mo and not have to deal with any of it. If you’re a development manager, how would you choose?

Ben goes on to claim that this type of software-as-a-service silliness is endemic of Rails apps as is having good design. As someone who has to do more than work on Open-Source Python server code, it’s very obvious why people use these services. They are more benefit than cost. The developers put thought into the experience and it doesn’t hurt your eyes when you look at it *cough* trac *cough*. People appreciate that effort and will pay for that. Otherwise, Apple would be out of business and the iPod would have been a flop.

I like Python as a language. I’m likely to use it for my own stuff someday. However, the reason Rails became more popular, although it’s a relative late-comer, is that the creators of Rails thought about the user experience. The point is that they were designers and not pure developers. They understood that design is not just decoration. They focused on making something that was useful to somebody. Repeating that thought process isn’t copy-and-paste, it’s good sense.

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Tejus Parikh

Tejus is an software developer, now working at large companies. Find out when I write new posts on twitter, via RSS or subscribe to the newsletter: