Tuesday, March 06, 2007

New Crunchy engine

At the end of my talk at Pycon 2007, I gave an extremely brief demo of the new (not in production yet) upcoming version of Crunchy. Thanks to the work of Johannes Woolard, Crunchy's javascript core engine has been completely rewritten. As a result, Crunchy will be more responsive; it will also support simultaneous execution of multiple code sample, proper input (stdin) handling from the webpage browser and the api (for writing tutorials) will be greatly simplified as there will no longer be any need to have an embedded "canvas" call in a tutorial: the user will be able to load a graphics dynamically anywhere on a page.

But that is not all...

Inspired by a side remark by Ivan Krstić (of OLPC fame) about finding the best way to design plugins in Python, I contacted Johannes to discuss the idea of using plugins to extend Crunchy. After a few back and forth emails, while I was on the road on business trips, Johannes just went ahead and implemented a first (then a second...) way of using plugins to extend Crunchy. In the end, it looks like we'll have to rewrite almost completely (like we did during the Summer of Code 2006) Crunchy's code as we move from one minor version (0.8) to the next (0.9). However, the result will be well worth it.

The unstated goal: to make it (almost) as easy for developpers to add new capabilities to Crunchy as it is for tutorial writer to use Crunchy to create interactive tutorials. Ok, this might be a slight exaggeration ... but not much of one ;-) And most of this will be the result of Johannes' great work. So, for all of those employers (and there were many at Pycon) looking for a brilliant Python programmer to hire over the summer, I know of an Oxford student who certainly fits the bill.

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