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I bought Pythonista

12 Jan 2014

2014-01-12 02:02:36 -0600

Could I end up becoming a Python junkie again? I tend to think not because there's just so much that I can do in Ruby in a one-liner that would take so much more thought in Python. However, in cases where Python is the only choice or is the superior choice, I could see myself doing a lot more Python now.

I bought Pythonista today. I had been thinking about it for quite some time, and if you read a previous entry, I bought Editorial the other day in some ways to test drive what the Pythonista developer is capable of.

First, I'm impressed. To me, there's only one huge, glaring omission: dropbox sync. I think Pythonista would be killer with automatic dropbox syncing of project files. It does look like there might be hacky workarounds from what I've browsed in pythonista gists, but I doubt it would be the same as something that could be built into the app.

With dropbox sync, I could easily share scripts between my devices, and quite possibly more important is that I could then do my editing directly on the computer if I wanted to. I'd save periodically and make sure that the script still was running properly on whichever ios device.

Things like pythonista also make me reconsider the thought that an ipad mini might be my next device. I don't know though because I realize that, when I'm working on a document, I seldom ever need to see all of it. Just enough. So an iphone would probably be unbearably small, but an ipad mini with a boosted size font might be okay.

today's work

I wanted to get some immediate value out of Pythonista, so I decided to base my daily work around it. Specifically, I started working on a public library scraper.

This scraper is something I wrote once already in Python. Then in Ruby. Now in Python again.

The reason why I wanted to build this in Pythonista is that it will be a timesaver. I imagine that when I'm out running errands, I might want to check at the library to see if I have any items available for pickup. Sure, I could just log into my library account and check it manually but it's too many steps. Especially, because I can easily check for a family member now too.

So it took me about two and a half hours of work to just get a bare scraper. It can log me in and a family member using data stored in the keychain. Then it will spit out a text list of library requests.

Really, this two and a half hours of work would've taken probably 15-30 minutes of work in Ruby. Still, it's not too bad considering that I haven't really touch Python since about 2011 IIRC. It might have been 2010. Basically, it was when I tried to have a fling with node.js, failed miserably, but then still wanted to try something new, so I tried Ruby, fell in love, and never went back to python.

Working in Pythonista today was enough of a pleasure, that I think I'll be using it going forward for building toy apps for myself for use on my iphone and ipad.

At some point, I'd love to build an ios app that could actually be on the appstore, but I hated Objective C when I tried it (and for me, my like/dislike of a language and its toolset is a huge factor in whether I'll actually ever build anything). I could see Pythonista being the perfect boost of motivation in that, by seeing an actual app that I can touch and play with, well it might just be the perfect motivation to get me to actually officially build something. At the very least, I'm happy to have access to a pretty damn decent tool for building ios projects for myself.