Snakes and Rubies Forum - Videos and MP3s now available
by Jeremy Jones
Related link: http://www.djangoproject.com/snakesandrubies/
Snakes and Rubies was a meeting held in December to allow developers from the Ruby on Rails and Django projects to present their respective projects and discuss them in an open forum.
If you've been reading some of my posts recently, you'll know that acceptance of diversity in the programming, especially open source, community is really important to me. Maybe that's why I liked the "Snakes and Rubies" video so much. Or maybe it was David Heinemeier Hansson's (of Ruby) hilariously opinionated comments during the Q&A portion of the forum. Or maybe it was getting to hear Adrian Holovaty talk about some of the ideas behind Django, what it's been used for, and what "batteries" it has included.
Regardless of exactly what it was, the "Snakes and Rubies" video was a highly entertaining, extremely informative piece of media. It was well worth the time (3 hours!) I invested to watch it. Up until this video, I had not taken more than a cursory glance at Django. I'm glad this video came along to remedy that.
I've been using TurboGears since about a week from its public release and previously had been using CherryPy since around (I think) version 0.7, so those are the Python web frameworks I'm most familiar with. Django takes a completely different perspective from either CherryPy or TurboGears. Django tries to be an all-in-one project, while CherryPy is a generic web framework. TurboGears tries to be an all-in-one project as well, but TurboGears pulls in pieces from different projects (CherryPy, MochiKit, SQLObject, Kid), whereas Django developed its pieces in house.
At this point, many readers will invariably raise mental red flags against Django because it is violating the DRY (Don't Repeat Yourself) principle because it isn't re-using existing technology. (I know, they're not repeating themselves as much as they are repeating work which has already been done. But it's the spirit of the thing.) One of David Heinemeier Hansson's comments during "Snakes and Rubies" was something to the effect that code re-use is overrated. That got me thinking. I'm not pronouncing anyone right or wrong at this point. I'm still pondering the thought. I'm merely raising the question, what if re-creating existing code sometimes isn't as evil as we've been taught? What if the proliferation of web frameworks in Python is actually a good thing? I can think of at least a few reasons why it's a good thing. I can also think of several situations where re-creating existing code can be pure evil, as well. Maybe I'll blog about it if I can codify my thoughts and get it down into 0 and 1s.
Is "re-inventing the wheel" really as evil as "the experts" say?
Criticism of "wheel reinvention" considered harmful
come up with a better wheel
As long as you come up with a better wheel than there was before, reinventing the wheel is perfectly fine, IMO.
Sometimes your wheel needs to be different enough
As with anything in computers, reusing code comes with tradeoffs. You might not get *exactly* what you want. You might also have a harder time dealing with that project's existing community.