Scraping the rust off – AppEngine and iPhone SDK


Photo by Peter BaerCC


As a tech manager I’ve got myself in to that mode. You know the mode. The one where you’re so focused on building a great product that you’re not getting to code that often, if at all. This isn’t bad – you have to do whatever you can to get things done – but if you’re a developer manager, you need to live in this space. And I’ve felt the atrophy.

So over the weekend I scraped the rust off and tried some new stuff. I’ve never coded in Python, but I’ve had Google AppEngine sitting on my account for a while. And I’ve got a personal iPhone developer SDK and ADC membership. It was time to whip out the programmer-WD40.

What did I build? Pytchfork. What is Pytchfork? You’ll find out – but not in this post. It’s something I’ve had on my mind for a while. In about an hour I had AppEngine installed and Pytchfork configured. Less than two hours later I was done with a REST library and the framework for what Pytchfork will become.

A REST feature set for input. Basic XML, RSS, ATOM, and JSON as output. In a few hours. Not bad, and it felt gooooood.

From this I’ve learned Python is a friendly animal, and not just in theory. It’s too friendly. The lack of semi-colons in my C/C++ brain feels like I’m walking up to a cliff without a railing at each line ending. But it’s something one gets used to.

Unless you’ve written a PHP or Ruby framework you’re married to, AppEngine and Python is about the best thing you could do for yourself as a way to publish a small, personal, application.

Starting a Monday without rust feels great. Stay sharp!