[mod_python] supporting modular mod_python extensions vs."folding" mod_psp

Rimon Barr barr at cs.cornell.edu
Mon Jun 9 19:31:43 EST 2003

Dear Sterling,

>Well, I believe it actually has a few.  But again, I don't see your
>point here?  Is your point that PSP is not the right library to bundle
>or that no libraries in general should be bundled?

Both. I'm not sure that PSP is the right library to bundle (if you must
bundle something) because it needs to be measured against a *LOT* of
existing work which seems to be going ignored. See:
  http://www.python.org/cgi-bin/moinmoin/WebProgramming, or
Even the name PSP has been used at least twice already. Why are none of
these, more mature projects being folded into mod_python instead of
developing something new?

However, for reasons stated in previous emails and others stated below,
I think that it would be even better to not include any library, and
simply make it simple to extend mod_python with application frameworks
or languages, by standardizing the Apache Python infrastructure.

>I'm not attacking you personally, but its convient to paint it that
>way.  Your claim is that you have no spyce agenda, excuse me if I find
>that quite hard to swallow.  Especially since out of the many lists you
>Cc'ed, spyce really has the most to lose.

I'm contributing code to the public domain in good will. I don't have an
agenda, and I'm not sure why that's hard to swallow. I wrote the code
for myself, and I found it useful. So, I released it so that others
could benefit too. It's users that win or lose, not Spyce. Nowadays, I
spend some free time maintaining the project, but I am not backed by any
company or foundation. It's not my work or research. I'm not planning to
write a book. It's just a small hobby of mine, and sometimes it's even a
bit of a headache to maintain the uninteresting parts. I'm happy to
share it with any others who are interested. I imagine that your
intentions in writing mod_psp are similar.

>If you don't want to bring yourself into the argument, then make some
>technical claims against it.  Instead of being the maurder who doesn't
>want mod_python to be defiled.  You still haven't explained why:
>a) Including PSP disadvantages other solutions from a *technical*
>   perspective.

- PSP will inevitably become bigger than mod_python and mod_python may
start to look like the PHP project did a few years ago before the focus
on Zend and PEAR finally emerged. - mod_python may start developing
special "fast" hooks to the PSP engine, that will not be properly
exposed and tested against other frameworks. - Release deadlines and bug
fixes will be end up being oriented around mod_psp changes, rather than
around fundamental changes to the framework making the versioning of the
framework more complex, and thereby also integration of other frameworks
that are not as closely bound to it as mod_psp. ... etc.

>b) What is wrong with PSP from a technical perspective?  Have you
>   encountered any bugs when using PSP?  What do you think can be improved?

I don't know where to start... How about here:
  http://www.python.org/cgi-bin/moinmoin/WebProgramming ?
mod_psp is quite a late-comer to this space. Spyce is too, actually.
But mod_psp hasn't even scratched the surface compared to some of the
other projects out there. Or, if you're looking for something "simpler",
then there's lots of simple projects too.

I performed an extensive search before starting out on Spyce, and I
implemented Spyce only because I wanted spyce lambda functions, modules,
and active tags. I think they are useful; you told me that you thought
lambdas were cool too. :) I simply didn't see them anywhere else when I
started working on the project.

>c) What problems you've had with mod_python since PSP was integrated

None, but that's also because I haven't used the newest code. You see,
for me there's no need to upgrade, because there haven't been many
significant changes (from the Spyce interface perspective) to the core
framework. I like it when the infrastructure is efficient and stable:
see (b).

>It doesn't at all take advantage of the mod_python api in anyway than
>any other module does.  PSP is a pure python module, with the parser
>written in C (with flex.)

That's quite interesting. So, by your own admission, you don't really
gain any technical benefit from integration? Ok, then what's the good
reason to integrate, technical or otherwise? Is it just because you can,
being a member of the Apache Foundation and all? If it's merely to
attract users through bundling, then that's an abuse, especially since
there are so many other frameworks out there, that are far more mature
than mod_psp. Don't get me wrong... Please do continue developing
mod_psp, or join one of the other efforts. The issue is not that. It's
the folding of the projects.

Why not sideline this entire issue and be inclusive by creating a nice
standard extension mechanism, a repository of mod_python compatible
modules, a prominent placement on the Apache website, etc.? A modular
design, after all, is the design of Apache, and it has been pretty
successful, I think. Have the Apache and the PHP code bases been
"folded" yet? Why not? PHP is the most popular language used within
Apache! The argument here is similar, I believe.

I know that the AF is trying to move away from language specific
extensions, but it would be nice also to have a website for mod_python
that looked like Jakarta, or mod_tcl, or mod_perl. It would help a lot
to attract users, if that is your interest. BTW, the mod_tcl guys
decided to separate mod_tcl from Rivet. mod_perl went one step further
and created a repository of mod_perl compatible modules and also a
section with code library contributed by the user community.

>I'm a PHP core developer for god sakes :) [...]

I sincerely respect your experience as a core mod_php developer and
congratulate you. PHP is a wonderful project and a run-away success. I
hope that your input to the Python web community will be equally

All the best,

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