Boa constructor

Thursday 8 April 2004This is 19 years old. Be careful.

I’ve been trying out Python IDEs, and I really like Boa Constructor. It’s got a usable GUI builder, and it seems solid. When I first tried it out over a year ago, it was neither usable nor solid, so it’s made a lot of progress.

On the con side, still though:

  • It’s hard to get current releases. Riaan Booysen (the author) seems to put his energy into adding to the code rather than packaging what he has every so often. 0.2.3 is the latest build available from the download page, but 0.2.8 has been marked in CVS, and is available as a download from a page linked to from a comment thread.
  • The UI suffers from some common engineer tendencies: the menus are in need of organization and pruning, and too much is stuffed into the explorer tree view (preferences?).
  • There’s more work to be done in the GUI builder. For example, accelerators and tab order have to be manipulated in the source code.

Here’s my dream: that all of the Python IDE energy out there could be focused on one project. For example, SPE (by Stani Michiels) is another Python IDE (which includes wxGlade, a GUI builder), and it is also showing a lot of promise. If we could get Stani and Riaan working together on one IDE, imagine where we could end up. Then maybe we can pull in Detlev Offenbach (Eric3) and Josiah Carlson (PyPE), and the sky’s the limit!


SPE rocks, I only switched recently, but it is a very nice editor with a lot of functionality. I was using BoaConstructor.... but i'm sorry, wxPython/boa is not compatible with my brain somehow. I've now resorted to using Delphi as a GUI for my Python stuf.... I am so happy now. Only problem is that I loose the crossplatform features of Python, but that hasn't been a problem yet.
The Python community seems to have a real problem getting its weight behind a single "definitive" offering in many areas. IDEs are one; GUI toolkits (Tkinter vs. wxPython? first time I had that argument was six years ago) are another. The one that cripples Python most, though, is the lack of a standard framework/toolkit for web apps: there are at least half a dozen out there being actively developed, which means that wannabe users like me shy away from using any of them. Only way to fix this would be for Guido to make a pronouncement, but he has repeatedly refused to do so.
This meme about web frameworks keeps getting repeated, but I don't understand how it's any different than trying to figure out which Java framework you're going to use. You can spend the day at the Apache site and come away with no clear idea. Same with GUI frameworks (Swing vs. whatever's beneath Eclipse).
About Boa 0.2.8 : you can re-order tab from noebook in the gui.
Just double click any tab label and the ordering list will appear, allowing you to re-order at will.
OPQ: I don't understand what you mean. Maybe we're talking about different things: I mean the tab order among ordinary controls in a dialog box. I haven't used notebooks.
About the framework issues: I agree, Java has its overwhelming diversity as well. Even proprietary systems suffer from this. Need to work on Microsoft platforms? What language should you choose? VB, VB.NET, VBS, C++, managed C++, or C#? Need to access a database? ADO, ADO.NET, OLE DB (raw or with consumer templates), or ODBC?
I think QT Designer is a much more intuitive GUI builder, but there are the licensing issues if you want to create a Windows app. Boa was horrible to use when I tried it. Also, there is a BIG difference between GUI builders like Boa and wxGlade, and programming text editors like SPE,Eric3,PyPE. We've got more than enough Python text editors, that's not the problem. We need a better, free, open source GUI builder, plus a front-end to py2exe (win) and BundleBuilder (mac) to quickly build a redistributable python app.

I think everyone should concentrate their efforts on a project like PythonCard rather than Boa, unless we are going to totally redesign Boa.
I'm a PyPE user but not for long... I've tried each IDE I could get my hands on, hate them all. PyPE is honest and that's why I use it. I love python and if there is one thing I miss from my java days is the power of Eclipse, its autocomplition and refactoring capabilities have no counterpart in python's word.

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