Jeremy Hylton : weblog : 2003-09-17

A Plan for Improving Web Programming in Python

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Bill Janssen will champion a Python Web SIG to improve standard library support for Web programming. This work is long overdue.

When the web was still a new thing, Python had pretty good libraries for web programming. When I started using Python in 1996, httplib and urllib seemed like the state of the art for web programming. Not any more. I've had many serious Python developers tell me that they prefer PHP for basic web programming.

There are great web frameworks written in Python, like Zope and Quixote. The frameworks are good for building dynamic web sites or serious content management, but that's a narrow part of web programming.

urllib2 was designed to address a small corner of the problem, writing clients that fetch and process web pages. I finished the first draft just before we left CNRI and could never make time to work on it more. John J. Lee has a lot of good ideas about making it really useful. He's done work like ClientCookie, which provides really necessary cookie support.

I'm hopeful that good things will happen.