Friday, April 27, 2007

pygame - weekly mini development sprint.

Marcus and I started up a weekly pygame sprint for a few hours on Wednesdays/Tuesdays.

Using this link you can find out what time it starts in other places:

Germany: Tuesday 10pm
UK: Tuesday 9pm
US: Tuesday 4pm
AU: Wednesday 6am

What happened in this weeks mini sprint

I collected all of the bugs and patches together onto a todo page. This took a while, so I didn't get that much work done on code things.

Marcus got the font metrics patch integrated. This allows pygame access to font metrics information. To understand what font metrics are read this. Pango seems to be the preferred way forward for fonts. There are plans for pygame support of Pango too.

The scrap clipboard module also got some love from Marcus. It's much more complete than the last version that's been in svn for a few months now. You can get all different types of clipboard data. I even managed to paste an image from The Gimp into my pygame program. The latest changes still need to be tested on windows, and the macosx code needs to be updated too.

Luke on the pygame mailing list has been talking about his work on WII controller code to be used with pygame. It's up to the stage where it is usable, but still needs more work. There's been a discussion on the mailing list about how to integrate it with pygame. This almost makes me want to get a WII - just for the controllers.

There's also been a few clean-ups with the pygame code. Marcus removed a bunch of warnings and made some other clean ups, including indentation fixes and other niceties. I removed a few more warnings on my debian setup too.

Recently on the mailing list there's been talk of including pygame with the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project. This would be the preferred method for people making games. It would be great if those OLPC people could join us next week for our sprints. Pygame gets used a lot by lecturers and teachers helping people learn programming via getting them to make games. So I think pygame will be a nice fit for the OLPC project.

Over on the SDL mailing list it was announced that work on a GTK backend for SDL has been started. GTK is the standard tool kit for use with the OLPC computer - which is why this has been made. This is a very interesting development - that should be useful for others too.

More information about the sprint

The weekly pygame mini sprint only goes for 3-4 hours. We're working on getting pygame released, as well as making plans, fixing bugs, writing docs, writing tests, testing, adding features and having a bit of a fun old pygame coding time.

More people who would like to join in the merrier! If you want to try and get a bug fixed, talk about adding some feature, or learn about coding in C with python/SDL/pygame then it would be good to join in. Hopefully the regular sprints will add some more enthusiasm about pygame development.

irc channel is the normal pygame one: #pygame

Here is our development todo list. There's a few interesting pieces of code that should be added to pygame at the next sprint.

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Backup option for apps. - web apps need it too.

All of your web applications should have an automated backup - and restore procedure.

For web applications, allow your users to back up their accounts.

Luckily many web hosts have backup software enabled within their control panels (cpanel etc). So it's easy to set up automated backups from these control panels.

End users should also have the option of backing up their data. Just so they can have an extra piece of mind. If they stuff something up, they can just restore from a backup. Pretty simple.

An sql dump might not be the best backup format... although it's pretty good. Maybe you didn't separate your data for different users when you designed your database. So just doing a database dump might not be available. If you give them a database dump they might get other clients data. You might need to write a custom backup procedure - one which knows how your database is designed.

I guess this is why most web applications fail to give end users backups - All of the user information is not separated within their database clearly. Because they forgot to design for backups in the beginning, and now it is too hard to implement on top.

So the moral of this web design fairy tale - 'design for backups in the beginning'.

Melbourne Web Developer Written by a Melbourne web developer. Available for your projects - php, mysql, e commerce, javascript, CMS, css, flash, actionscript, python, games, postgresql, xml.