Armin Ronacher's Thoughts and Writings

Status Update 2010

written on Wednesday, January 6, 2010

As you can see from the archives, the activity in this blog was rather low the last couple of weeks. But not only the blog, also my visible programming activity and everything related. There are a couple of reason for that but unfortunately I'm not entirely sure how this will change in the next few weeks.

University turned out to be boring and stressful at the same time and is the main limiting factor of my productivity. While at the same time many courses bore or frustrate me, there is still a lot of stuff that has to be delivered or learned for.

While this is the primary reason for not being active at all, there are a couple of other reasons as well. What I spend most of my time with the last couple of years was certainly Open Source (I guess even free software), Python and web applications. For a time I am interested in other topics as well, I just never had the impression that I would be able to learn was has to be learned to succeed at it.

I still don't know, but without trying I will never know. So my Python / Webdev activity will most likely stay as low as it currently is for a while. That however does not mean that my projects will be unmaintained.

Project Maintenance

So what's happening to the projects in the near future?

Werkzeug's Future

So this little bugger will certainly get a new release soon. I was actually planning a release before the beginning of the new year but there are a couple of things that I want to have sorted out first. I was planning to move the debugger together with a couple of things into a new library called Flickzeug, but because I don't think I will personally need debugging tools any time soon, I will put that plan on hold.

If anyone is interested in helping out there, just drop me a line and I will help you as good as I can. The design of the library is pretty much finished, just the implementation is unfinished.

Until something for Flickzeug is planned, the debugging component will stay in Werkzeug and not be deprecated. The same cannot be said about the Werkzeug templates however. Because it depends on a library that goes away in Python 3 I will only deprecate it for future Werkzeug Python 3 versions.

This is also my biggest grief at the moment. I am totally unhappy how Python is developing currently and especially with the implementation of Python 3 and the plans for it. Graham Dumpleton is doing an insanely great job with maintaining mod_wsgi and I am sure whatever he decides on for Python 3's WSGI will become the standard everybody is using. And I trust him enough that I know whatever is chosen, is an acceptable solution everybody can be happy with. Until then however, I do not plan to port Werkzeug to Python 3.


Jinja is a little bit more complicated. The hg tip should work on Python 3 already if you run it through 2to3, so with the next release we should have acceptable builtin Python 3 support. What keeps me from releasing a new version is that the compiler has a couple of scoping issues that arrive from edge cases where Jinja scoping does not properly translate to Python scoping.

All that would not be an issue if I could generate bytecode directly, but that unfortunately is not portable and does not work on the appengine at all, so I can only add further workarounds into the code generator.

Right now I am looking for code that breaks on Jinja2 tip and come up with solutions for these edge cases. If you have templates that break on tip, let me know and file tickets for those.


Now this is the most tricky project. When I started working on Zine I was extremely motived doing that, mostly because at that time WordPress was really weak and easy to catch up to. However Zine is still a one man project and because it is built in Python it is mostly interesting for other Python developers and as such missing its market.

The hg version is a lot better than the latest release so what I will do is integrating the missing changes into it and release a new version at the beginning of February. From that point onwards however I have no plans.

Why all that

So why the sudden switch away from what I did the last years? It's not that I lost motivation in general for what web development but I don't want to limit myself to that area. There is more I am interested in and because I picked the wrong studies all over again I won't learn enough I will have to start learning that next to my regular studies.

Alex Gaynor wrote an essay about education a while ago to which I wanted to respond, but I never had the time to. Lately however that comes back more and more to me because the situation in Austria regarding education and university is currently just weird for a couple of reasons.

Basically it boils down to me at the same time being incredible unhappy with the way university works in Austria but finding myself over and over again in the situation where I have to defend the system against other stupid students that think it's a good idea to occupy a large auditorium to get more money from the state (and by doing so disrupting other students whose exams get relocated, access to library denied and so forth).

Call for Volunteers

So a while ago there were a couple of people contributing code to various Pocoo projects. This is still true but even though the number of people using Werkzeug, Jinja2 and Zine increased (not mentioning Pygments here which Georg maintains) the number of patches and active developers decreased. This is unfortunate because right now I'm pretty much alone on these and working alone means that in times where I have few time to spare, the amound of new features, improvements and everything declines.

Two projects of mine (CleverCSS and GHRML) either found new owners by sending me a mail or got some better maintained branches on github and I would love to either hand over the project completely (including the pypi page) or getting you on the pocoo team and giving you commit access here.

For Werkzeug, Jinja2 and Zine my plan is to clean up the trackers a lot so that it's easier to work on small tasks which hopefully will both enable external contributions and make it possible for me to work on these next to what I will do otherwise :)

Happy new 2010

So for all of you, a Happy new 2010 and may it have more, and more stable releases, than 2009!

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