Python

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Contents

Introduction

  • You can download nicely packaged Python called ActivePython. They proclaim themselves as the All-in-one Python distribution for AIX, HP-UX, Linux, Mac OS X, Solaris, and Windows.
  • Another package of Python that includes graphical modules including 3D is called Visual Python. It is available for Windows, Mac, Linux and UNIX.
  • There is also a scientific distribution of Python called SciPy. This also supports Windows, Mac and Linux.

PyGTK is the Python interface to the GTK GUI library used in the OLPC. This library is notable for a component named Pango which simplifies the use of multiple scripts and languages. In addition, it's basic drawing library, Cairo, has some of the best support of SVG rendering which is also a major component of the OLPC.

The premier graphing tool for Python which puts graphing calculators to shame is Matplotlib. It does support output to GTK and to SVG which are both supported on the OLPC. However, there is another Python charting app called PyChart which is probably more suitable to being stripped down (remove Postscript) into a tool for the OLPC.

Movable Python

Can you develop applications in Python if you only have access to shared library PCs?

In fact, yes this is possible but it does cost a small amount. For £5 (about $9.50) you can buy a Python distribution called Movable Python sometimes referred to as Python-on-a-stick because it runs from a USB stick memory device. For that matter it runs from any USB-powered storage device so it could even be installed on a 20gig Freecom drive. It can be customized by adding your own libraries so you could install GTK+, PyGTK and any other bits that you need. I haven't personally tried to run Movable Python together with PyGTK but if your GUI is simple then you can even develop using WAX or WxPython and then have someone port it to PyGTK later when you have a working product.

Learning Python

The Livewires Python Course may be useful to create some curriculum material to teach the kids how to write their own Python applications. It would need some adaptation to fit the OLPC environment.

The author of Python wrote a long tutorial.

Development Advise

Some things to consider in Python development:

  • PEP 8 is the Python style guide. On many issues the style guide suggests but does not require a particular style. Generally you should stick to the style guide, unless there is good reason not to. For instance, if you are interacting with a library (internal or external) that uses a different convention, don't try to translate the convention.
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