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The Explorer
What I am doing now
by Michele Simionato
August 21, 2009
This summer I have been quite silent on Artima. Here is an update of what I have done and what I plan to do in the future.


In the latest couple of months I have been quite silent on Artima; actually, I have only published episode #30 of my Adventures which was originally written a long time ago. The main reason is the Italian summer: with a temperature of 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit) I do not feel very motivated to write and I spend my weekends on the beach. Also, I spent a couple of weeks of vacation in Montreal in July (and it was really cool there, in the literal sense of the world!). Plus, I discovered A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. I bought all the currently published volumes (in the French edition, which means 12 volumes for a total of 5,000+ pages) and I read of all them in four weeks. I used to read a lot when I was young, but in the latest ten years or so I have nearly stopped reading fiction: I had already read all the classics and I could not find recent things worth reading. But Martin is good.

I have not been completely lazy this summer, and I have found the time to upload a new release of my decorator module to PyPI. Actually, I had to upload it twice. My first attempt (release 3.1.0) was accidentally breaking Pylons. The problem was immediately reported (thanks to Gabriel de Perthuis!) and fixed the day after. You are encouraged to download release 3.1.1 and to forget about 3.1.0. There are various internal changes but not many user level changes, except the addition of a new convenient API to dynamically generate functions (FunctionMaker.create). This is mostly intended for framework authors. For instance in SQLAlchemy there is a machinery to instrument classes, which involves adding properties corresponding to database columns and also redefining the constructor __init__, by preserving the original signature. This is done without using the decorator module, but using the same techniques. If you want to play this kind of games, FunctionMaker.create will simplify your life a lot. You can find examples of use in the documentation, so I will not insist on it here. Instead, I will comment on an user request I had two months ago from David Laban. He wanted an easy to define decorator factories. I have thought a lot about that - I had the same request before, I implemented a solution in version 2.3 and removed it in version 3.0 - but at the end I have decided not to include the feature. The reasons are that I want to keep the API small and that I do not want to add even mor magic. Moreover, I am strong believer in the "there must be only one way" mantra. Finally, it is not difficult to define decorator factories with the current functionality anyway. So, I have added to the documentation a recipe (actually a one-liner) to implement decorator factories on top of the pre-existing functionality.

What about the Adventures of a Pythonista in Schemeland? I am taking a pause from them for a while, to recover my energy. My blog never wanted to be Scheme-only. I have updated the table of contents and uploaded the full PDF version on my site. This is the good moment to re-read the Adventures if you have lost the pace and need some time to digest all the material I have published until now. I must also think about how to continue the series. A few weeks ago Kent Dybvig released the fourth edition of The Scheme Programming Language which is updated to R6RS Scheme. I have to read to book, since it makes no sense for me to talk about things which are already covered there. Anyway, I still have a lot of things to write and soon or later I will resume the publications (hopefully with a more clement weather). BTW, there are important news in the Scheme world: just today the Steering Committee for the next version of Scheme (R7RS) made a statement about their vision for the Scheme language evolution. You can find it here. A few relevant excerpts tell everything:

All this makes a lot of sense to me. I hope the editors will make a better job than what was done with the R6RS. Still, I am always skeptical when it comes to languages designed by committed. See the following worlds from Marc Feeley when we spoke in person at the EuroLisp Symposium in Milan:

I do not believe in languages designed by committee [Marc Feeley, appointed member of the R7RS Scheme committee]

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About the Blogger

Michele Simionato started his career as a Theoretical Physicist, working in Italy, France and the U.S. He turned to programming in 2003; since then he has been working professionally as a Python developer and now he lives in Milan, Italy. Michele is well known in the Python community for his posts in the newsgroup(s), his articles and his Open Source libraries and recipes. His interests include object oriented programming, functional programming, and in general programming metodologies that enable us to manage the complexity of modern software developement.

This weblog entry is Copyright © 2009 Michele Simionato. All rights reserved.

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