Thoughts on Pyjamas, Python and Web Apps

I was looking for a fun project to work on in my spare time, and while hanging out with my buddy Alex we started talking about coding and web apps. Even though I got an Electrical Engineering degree, I applied to college as a CS major and I still have an interest in CS and especially algorithms. What turned me off to CS was all the extra “fluff” you needed to write a real program. In school I’d always get templates that said “//Insert your algorithm here” and I never liked that.

That’s where Alex comes in. He was talking about how Python, and how clean and understandable the code is. I looked into it and there are a few features that really make coding simple. Python doesn’t require variable declarations, it includes lots of nice features like accessing the last element in an array using a [-1] index, the standard types have really uniform syntax, and the overall the Python syntax is clean. All those features made it simple to focus on algorithms, which is exactly what I was wanted.

What’s even better is Alex also talked about using a program called Pyjamas. With Pyjamas, you can write a web app in Python, and “compile” it to javascript so it runs in a standard browser. The idea sounded so clever. You could write an app using a language that lets you be very productive, and then compile and run your app in a regular browser.

I got a copy of Pyjamas (it’s open source code so it’s free at http://pyjs.org) and tried it out. After getting through the installation, which was really dated at the time (I’ll list all the steps I went through in my next post), I was writing really nice web apps. It was great! I started out creating a small game. I created a player which I could draw on the screen, and I could move around. I then created objects, like walls, that the player could interact with. Within a couple days I had a small game coded up using a language that was brand new to me.

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About Charles Law

Charles started out in Systems Engineering, designing algorithms, but became a programmer once discovering Python's clean syntax. He has experience using many popular products and services in production environments including web2py, uwsgi, AWS, and OpenShift, as well as experience setting up front-ends in Javascript/Python. He tends to cover his experiences, and notes, from setting up servers, and talks about his experiments with different front-end tools.

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