Tuesday, February 07, 2006

web.py: makes (bold claims about) web apps

I'm not sure how I feel about web.py using my name and a quote out of context as an endorsement. On the one hand, they at least include a link to the original context, but on the other, they make my faint praise look much more positive than it was. My original comment pointed out various issues with e.g. its SQL quoting implementation, and also noted that "it's about as far away as possible from something I would write." While I'm flattered that they thought me worth using in this way, I probably would've been just as flattered if they'd quoted me saying "it's about as far away as possible from something I or Jim Fulton would write", and it arguably might be a better endorsement than the bits they actually quoted. :)

I doubt it's a malicious misquoting, however. They also quoted Guido, including both his positive comment and his giving it an "F" for undocumented code and excessive magic.

It still bothers me a little bit that the quote makes it look like I endorse web.py, especially since they tacked on the fact that I'm the creator of WSGI. I try very hard to stay framework-neutral in my official capacity (such as it is). To be perfectly clear, I don't endorse any particular framework as the be-all end-all of web programming. I believe that Python probably has the greatest diversity of novel web programming paradigms of any programming language, and this rich legacy is a treasure to be preserved -- even as frameworks consolidate over time. It should not be lightly discarded for whatever the flavor of the month is.

As such, I found the inflammatory rhetoric and unabashed advocacy in the comments on Guido's blog to be embarrassingly petty -- especially since a lot of them were from people whose frameworks aren't really offering much (capability-wise) that other Python frameworks haven't been doing for years.

To a large extent, the newest wave of Python web frameworks are more about developer-friendliness than about innovation per se. And I have nothing against that, but sometimes I worry that it's like working on the cupholders when we haven't got fuel injection figured out yet. On the other hand, I suppose everybody already knows they'd like a cupholder, without needing a lot of explanation why it'd be a good idea to have one. Some things just "sell" better than others, due to their obviousness. A fact of life, but occasionally a frustrating one.