Thursday, 17 July 2008

python-dev: unittest changes and language changes

When new releases of Python are being developed, I start browsing the python-dev mailing list in order to keep up to date on when the alpha versions, beta versions, release candidates and final versions will be released. I do this in order to try and synchronise releases of Stackless Python, as it helps me (and hopefully others) feel like it is a relevant and current project. Maintaining its currentness has been my primary driving force in spending the time I have maintaining the project itself.

However, in browsing python-dev I find myself actually reading all the posts, and I find this rather disappointing. Features are proposed and seem to get accepted and integrated arbitrarily - at least in my opinion. I don't want that statement to get conflated with a dissatisfaction with the Stackless Python features never having gotten into the Python language, that is not an interest of mine. In any case, I feel that the Python language is drifting away from what I originally liked about it, especially in terms of approachability and readability.

One particular aspect which is being discussed at the moment is revising the unittest module for a later release of Python 3000. Modifying all the assertion method names away from camel case to suit the style guideline PEP. Going with the assert* naming and dropping the fail* naming. And more.

Personally find the fail* naming easiest to interpret and tend to just use the failUnless method for most of my unit tests. The feeling I get from the mailing list is that there is a desire to make everyone use the assert* methods, so that those who prefer them can have any test they encounter fit their preference given that the other approach is redundant.

I hope that the fail* aliases make it in - but I don't expect them to.

Monday, 14 July 2008 reading list 4

These threads seemed a bit better to summarise, in the sense that they felt like they had more concrete experience to them, rather than wishful thinking and speculation.

1997-12-15: Better mud

What makes a better MUD? The original post lists a range of rather superficial aspects which deal mostly with good taste and quality control. Eventually touches on magic systems. Then going level-less in terms of skill systems.
1998-01-23: Bandwidth Usage of MUDS
A good overview of the bandwidth usage of MUDs (at least in 1998, but hey, it's not like MUDs have gone anywhere) with a consensus on what to expect.
1998-02-02: What do you think of Introductions?
An excellent thread on recognition systems. Concentrates on observations of actual implementations and possible ways to vary them. Polluted with a few boring implementation related posts.
1998-04-14: Grids and curvature of a sphere
Grid-based game worlds with wrapping of the world.
1998-04-08: Diku vs. LP from the player's POV
Eventually moves to discussing exits and directions. Having the server doing the movements as part of an action to go to a landmark, rather than the player entering the movement commands needed to get there themselves. Drifts to classless systems. Skill systems.
1998-03-21: Roleplaying
Just skimmed this thread. Seemed to stay on track.
1998-05-06: Political Systems
Land ownership, taxes. Player councils. Law and order. Guard behaviour.
1998-05-07: Dealing with Mages
As the title says. Alternative magic approaches (mage2mage, waving hands).
1998-05-28: Level Restrict Rooms and Obj's
Not a particularly interesting topic. Branches off to item usage restrictions, like the D&D mage armour restriction.
1998-07-21: Immortal Attitudes to Players
Player rights. Not a topic I find particularly interesting. The situation which triggered the thread was where an admin closed down a MUD leaving the players in the lurch with their ensuing feeling of entitlement.. to something.
1998-07-29: new project + roleplaying in muds
Starts with permadeath and nethack style interface. Generated descriptions for people and rooms, up to and including recognition systems. Droning on about the best data structure to use. Discussion about a Simultronics MUD called Dragon Realms. Simulationists vs anti-simulationists. People who go off on a rant when they read the word realism.
1998-08-24: Coder shortage
Complaint about how MUDs aren't willing to train coders. Creativity being more important than the ability to code. Good coders being better than good builders. Code reviews, including descriptions of workplaces MUD programmers have experienced it at.
1998-11-02: missile combat
Bows, arrows, armour and so forth. Peasants as slaves.
1999-03-04: MUD Economies
Noise-free thread about more realistic economies in MUDs.
1999-03-24: Area Copyright and Usage
Builders' rights. What right does a builder have to the work they create for a MUD run by someone else. Subjective interpretations of law. Overuse of swearwords (on my part).
1999-05-05: [The Future of Our Hobby] What's in store for us?
Yet another pointless discussion about what the future of MUDs is. Graphical, text.. etc.
2000-05-30: Sublocation
Location of objects within rooms.
1999-06-30: Combat with fireweapons
Range attacks, radius effects, guns and grid usage.
1999-06-02: Classes vs Classless
The advantages and disadvantages of class and classless MUDs. Skills. Combat technique. Weapons.
1999-07-08: ENOUGH STALE MUDS!
Starts with a diatribe about unoriginality in MUDs. Importance of room descriptions. Mapping and disparate room sizing. Races.
1999-08-17: Turn-based combat
Turn-based combat in MUDs. Combat speed. Devolves into boring implementation discussion for a while.
1999-11-21: Commercial-use Restrictions on Code Bases
Starts off with someone wanting other people to have written a graphical code-base for them then moves into the secondary topic shown above. GPL. BSD.
Current position: December 13th, 1999