A Day in Python Library HellVote on HN Tweet
I haven't used python as my main day-to-day language, but I've already run into problems with the tools and libraries that has had me pulling my hair out.
There doesn't appear to be a consensus in the community for how you distribute or install libraries. As a result, every library is a little different, and you have to figure it out per package. Sometimes it's through python eggs, sometimes through your OS's package manager, sometimes it's from source, and sometimes it's just drop in a file. As if this wasn't bad enough, the method you choose to install a library might determine whether it works or not. When I tried to install the oauth module via an egg, the module didn't work. From this blog post comment, it turns out I wasn't alone:
I had this problem too. I get it when I used setuptools to install an egg of ouath. Instead, just copy oauth.py into your Python path and it will work fine.
"just copy oauth.py into your Python path"? Is this seriously the solution? If so, then why even bother to have distribute a broken egg?
easy_install is Stupid
First of all, what a stupid name for a program. It doesn't tell me anything about what it does, and isn't remotely related to 'eggs' nor python. The --help message has no short description, and there's no man page for it. When you google for 'python egg', the first result is 'setuptools', which is 'easy_install', which happens to install eggs.
Oh, and guess what? There's no easy_uninstall. For that, you'll have to remove it yourself from your local site-packages, or roll your own uninstall.
init.py is Useless
Every init file I've seen so far has been empty. I understand the purpose for this file, but requiring it in a directory for something to be considered a module is annoying. Java also uses directories for packages, but doesn't require you to touch a file in every folder.
I'm disappointed something that developers use day in and day out can be so clunky and vague. I've singled out the oauth library as an example, but the problem isn't just a single bad library. The problem is how freaking difficult it is to try a new library; Even if you like the API of the library, there's an additional hurdle of installing and maintaining it. I wish the Python community would come to a consensus and choose a standard way of distributing libraries.