Eclectic Dreams

A Web Design and Development Blog

Python, Pylons, Dads and Development

July 17th, 2011

Way back in February, I did a quick talk at the Show & Tell event on a new side project of mine (slides over here) and forgot to publish this related blog post, hey ho! Here it is in reduced form:

Finder is simple web app to help parents discover and catalogue local child-friendly businesses, something I’ve built from personal need. It currently residing at and is in need of some content/contributions love (you can sign in via Twitter!). It makes use of some funky browser geo-location to make it extra useful, with fallback to plain old search.

Finder is a simple enough little app, and it gave me a great opportunity to use Python in anger; Previously I’d only really played about with it. I arrived at using Pylons for a number of reasons. Like most people who want to do some Python web-appery, I’d initially looked at Django, which seems to be the most talked of framework. Something about Django didn’t really mesh with me, it’s got its own way of doing things, and that wasn’t an exact fit somehow – personal taste maybe.

Pylons felt, well, much more toolboxy. You could pull stuff in from all over, pick the modules you liked best. Particularly I like the SqlAlchemy/FormAlchemy combo, I’ve always felt that it should be easy to build a form from an existing model if you’ve used sensible naming conventions. Stuff like this:


class LocationFieldSet(FieldSet):
  def __init__(self):
    FieldSet.__init__(self, Location, session=Session)


is a really neat way to just  turn a model into a form for editing that model’s data. Not part of Pylons, but I can chose to use it cos I like it (and I’m a fan of easy).

One thing I forgot to mention in my talk (well, I only had ten minutes!) was that Pylons in now merging with Repoze to become Pylons Project with a new framework called Pyramid… It’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for it.


Thoughts on a Decade of Professional Web Jobs

February 23rd, 2010

Apparently I seem to have lost a decade somewhere… Maybe down the back of the sofa? No? Oh, that’s right, it went mostly on building websites, with occasional sitting in pubs ranting about usability. I thought, given that it’s 2010 and clearly the future, it would be worth distilling some of the wisdom of ten years worth of web shenanigans.

Especially the ranting parts.

Read the rest of Thoughts on a Decade of Professional Web Jobs

What would you build to save the planet?

February 19th, 2010

That’s the rather broad, but exciting, question that Multipack are attempting to answer tomorrow. Let me explain…

The whole thing began back at the Multipack Presents event last year, Being Green, where Paul gave a presentation about his frustrations with waste in the web industry (particularly conferences like SXSW and their regularly-binned goodie bags). Paul envisioned a grassroots coalition of webby types working together to reduce our environmental impact.

After some brainstorming amongst interested parties the name stuck, yeah it’s a CSS joke, but that’s endearing right?

Tomorrow’s event has taken a while to organise, but Hack the Planet is something I’m genuinely excited about. The concept is simple, run a Hack Day, where the objective is to build something to lessen our impact on the environment.  There’s a lot of talented people descending on Brum to put our brains together and build … something. The exciting part is we don’t yet know what! Oh sure, there’s ideas floating about like the virtual conference goodie bag, but somebody might suggest something awesome at 10am that gets everybody fired up and takes on a life of its own. That’s the fun of it!

It’s not just a local thing, which is nice, Cole has chipped in by designing the poster for the event and the nice foks at Campagn Monitor are sponsoring. It’s got that nice feeling of an event where people pull together.

Final details are here, if you fancy coming and helping build something in a day.