Chinese proverb if you plant a garden

Chinese proverb if you plant a garden

Chinese proverb if you plant a garden with too many ingredients, you get spring vegetables and summer fruits, but no fall and winter ones.

While working on my game I've been trying to learn programming from first principles. It's been an interesting experience. When I'm creating an application I sometimes think in terms of

A user starts at the "end"

So far, the path my development has taken has involved designing things in an ad-hoc fashion. The way I've been building the game is starting to become more formalized now though, which means that I'm starting to build up a dependency on "packages" that do a lot of the work for me. Of course, these packages are based on paradigms from other programming languages. So when I start working on a project, I try to find packages that implement a paradigm I think would be more "natural" for my needs.

In this post, I'm going to share some background about where I'm at, and some opinions on what is "going to work best" for creating a game like my own. I've started with the Python web framework Flask, but I might come back to some of this stuff with other tools later.

What's a web framework?

You might be familiar with this term, but what does it mean? A framework is a layer of code that allows you to design and build web applications quickly, without having to worry about the "nitty gritty" details of HTTP requests, file serving, database access, etc.

What's it good for? If you've got an idea for a web application, it's much easier to start developing an idea with a "framework" in place. You don't need to decide if you want a chat room, forum, or games, or any of the other options available out there. You can start building by implementing the bits and pieces that will make up the "glue" that binds your application together. It's a lot easier to simply implement HTTP request routing, file serving, database access, and a handful of pages than it is to build all of those parts from scratch.

But to make use of all of the goodies in a framework you need to start with some kind of application definition. So let's take a look at that.

There are many ways to build a web application in Python, but one of the more popular choices is Flask. Flask is a flexible web framework that is simple to use and comes with great default features, like setting up an HTTP server and automatically generating forms and URLs. It's also very light weight, so you can bootstrap an application in a few minutes, while using all of the available libraries in your system.

Flask is good for prototyping, since it requires little in the way of configuration to make it useful. But it's also got a few quirks that can trip you up. This is a great example of how using something like a web framework is fine for prototyping, but you don't want to use it for production. The down-side of not paying attention to these details is the potential for surprising behavior at runtime.

It's common for Flask applications to have a configuration file that is named app.json. What this file does is to provide a way for you to associate arbitrary Python objects with the application. This gives you a simple way to associate objects with the application, but you can also use this file to specify things like what database connection is used and the URL that is used for serving static assets. It can be handy to write these out-of-band because you don't want to modify code while it's being developed, but having some means of configuration makes it much easier to get the app up and running without having to remember and write everything out-of-band.

Since Flask is already in use in my project, I'm going to want to use one of its configuration options: the LOGGING configuration. In most of my development, I'm not interested in using logging for debugging, but I do need to see logs during testing. This means that I don't want to use something like stderr, I want to use sys.stdout so that I can see my results in a Python shell.

Configuring and starting a Flask application in a single file

When I bootstrap a Flask application I like to make it easy for me to share the application configuration with people who are helping with development. In some ways it's not that much different from setting up a git repository:

git init

I start a fresh git repository, with the application code, so I create the directory structure myself, so I can provide a "hello world" project in a single file, named hello.py. The only trick I needed to work with is configuring the application configuration. This is done using a "super configuration file". The contents of this file are in a single Python object, with a very simple name. You should use a "super configuration file" to start a Flask application, because it's very easy to misconfigure and not notice when your application stops working.

import os os.environ.setdefault("DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE", "hello.settings") config = dict(__file__=os.path.join(os.path.dirname(__file__), "hello.app.conf")) from django.core.management import execute_from_command_line import execute run(config)

In this file, I simply provide the Python path of the file that contains the config. Here's what the config object looks like.

{ 'LOGGING': {'version': 1, 'formatters': { 'default': { 'format': '%(levelname)s %(asctime)s %(module)s %(process)d %(thread)d %(message)s' }, 'hello_format': { 'format': '%(asctime)s %(message)s' }, }, 'filters': { 'default': {}, 'hello_filter': { '()': 'hello_filter' } }, 'handlers': { 'default':


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