Those who didn’t dig my Season One series may have appreciated the lull — to others, I apologize for the long delay in launching Season Two, which will be quite different. In the meanwhile, I just wanted to add a few words about mobile python web apps, with some good news about Maemo5 and the N900 hardware.
I finally received my own N900, barely four days ago. I’m still getting to know it, and come to terms with the new UI, the new capabilities; also, of course, the news bugs, shortcomings and sometimes regressions that will keep us all waiting for firmware updates…
One thing I wanted to test right away, as you can imagine, is the web2py stuff I have running on my N810.
First, find the xterm icon hidden somewhere. From the way the terminal springs to life on the screen you already know this hardware is wicked fast compared to the N8×0 generation. Just typing ‘python’ confirms that the language runtime is not preinstalled, as expected.
Next stop, App manager. The ‘extras’ repository is present, but disabled by default. Enable it, update, and here is PyGTKeditor by my fellow Frenchman Benoît. It is both a very nice code editor, and the simplest way to get Python installed as a dependency.
Back to xterm : ‘python’ now works. ‘import pygame’ doesn’t, however, meaning it is no longer installed by default like it was before. It’s probably just a separate install however, as the SolarWolf pygame shooter is available for Fremantle.
So, on to the test : on the N810, I just tar and compress the web2py directory; send the .tgz file over to the flash card on the N900 (using File manager and Bluetooth); uncompress it there and run the startup script. No need to be root, change permissions or install packages.
Output in the console stops so fast that I immediately think there has been some kind of error: but no, web2py has just reached the end of its startup messages, and is waiting to serve requests. Again, this is blazing fast compared to the N810. Also, it means that the python runtime itself is more complete than on Maemo4: no import errors, no need to install a complementary “python-devel” package. Yay.
Last, the browser: even MicroB manages to feel almost zippy on this platform, despite its crazy UI. I enter the localhost URL for the slowest of my web2py apps, which routinely takes anywhere from one to three seconds between screens on the N810, probably due to lousy ‘database joins’ which I’m too lazy to refactor: here’s my good old app, except now it churns along as if it had been tuned by a professional dba… The age-old, traditional IT ‘fix’ at work: throw hardware at it
Next up : Season Two !