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Europython - cloud databases, python in browser, search

by Sasha Vinčić Jul 01, 2009 12:05 PM
Europython has started and this year it's a new record, more then 440 attendees. On the first day I listened about cloud databases, writing rich web ui applications and fast fulltext search, all this in or with Python.
Europython - cloud databases, python in browser, search

Europython 2009

The first session I attended was FluidDB by Terry Jones. Terry described it as "database with heart of wiki" and its a description I can support from what I have learned. It is a database where objects don't have owners so anyone can add and change metadata(attributes/tags) on them. But the tags have owners and therefore permissions. The big benefit from this approach is that you can add tags or metadata about the object to the object it self instead of creating your own database. Some good examples are all those Twitter apps out there which add or calculate information about the twitter user or the tweets and then store them in their own database. If Twitter used FluidDB everyone could store it's own extra metadata where the original objects where. Now let see if all the promises will be fulfilled when FluidDB is released in a month or so. I really hope they will because I heard Terry sold his apartment to invest in this, that is what I call an entrepreneur! There were two more sessions related to database, one about MongoDB and one about CouchDB from Mozilla. The later uses the language Erlang to get the concurrency speed and it is a replicable and scalable database.

Javascript is THE language for web 2.0 applications and it's much simpler to develop today with all the AJAX libraries out there but still hard to keep up with all the different browsers and it's bugs. That is specially true if you don't use it daily, like a python programmer like me. I was pleasantly suprised to see Pyjamas come this long way. Today it's possible to develop your user interface in Python and have it compiled to javascript that runs in the browser. This is definitely something we will try out because it also enables you to create desktop applications. Luke Leighton who presented "The Zen of Pyjamas" even thought the HTML UI version was much nicer and had better quality then any widget library like PyQ4, PyGTK, wxPython. The main reason for this was that there had gone far more development hours into the web components.

Fulltext search is one powerfull feature in Plone that we use in our daily job. But on large websites it's good to separate the indexing and searching to separate server or service. The "Search with Python and Xapian" was a nice session by Richard Boulton where I saw how to use Python to index and search in Xapian as an external web service.  I also saw Open Object in action from the Open ERP project and I was impressed how simple it is to create enterprise applications with it. Walking back to hotel I thought "What is the difference between Open ERP and SAP?"  SAP has limitations on what it can do and no limitations on the cost, Open ERP has no limitations on what it can do because it's open source and the price well you decide. If you google for Open ERP and SAP this was top hit for me :)

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