The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

June 10, 2007

The Good

VirtualBox – A fairly complete VMWare Workstation replacement, it even supports the VMWare disk format. Worked pretty much out of the box for me – I’m sold. Would be nice if someone stepped up and packaged up the open source version which seems to support everything I want anyways.

PyGTK Shell – Not bad, though it needs to gain the autosaving feature from my version.

The Evergreen Open Files Dialog – The last refuge of hierarchical filesystems nowadays seems to be software for programmers, who apparently want to inflict the pain on others of their kind. I wish my current editor let me type a file name and open it, regardless of where it was or whether had it open currently. It just…makes sense. Not ready to switch to Evergreen yet, but the author has the right idea. (Hotwire‘s current cd command offers something similar for directories).

The Bad

Python zipfile module – Whoever designed this API should have their Python commit access revoked. This is apparently what you have to write to just extract the contents of a zipfile. No. Just…no.

The Ugly

The canvas situation. Honestly, what I would really like to see is a nice API for embedding a (web) browser. I put (web) in parenthesis because most apps would want significantly tighter integration than that offered by something like GtkMozembed – e.g. the ability to easily insert a hyperlink that invokes a callback in your app, have slick DOM control, write scripts in Python instead of JavaScript, etc.

The benefit to this is that you get to reuse all the knowledge about web page programming and layout that basically all programmers today have to know anyways. Now, this doesn’t fill every use case – certainly things like Clutter would still be the sane way to write particular classes of application. Anyways, more and more I find myself hoping someone steps up and really makes something awesome like this – whether it’s based on XULRunner, Gtk-WebCore or something else.

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