Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Plenty o’ Python Packages

I feel like I've been talking about Python a lot recently, but I just can't help it. When you find such a useful tool it's only natural to want to tell other people about it. And yesterday I discovered a wonderful resource for anyone interested in Python: the Unofficial Windows Binaries for Python Extension Packages.

There are a few reasons I found this collection of dozens of Python packages significant. First, currently most ‘official’ Python packages tend to be for 32-bit versions of Windows. I have a 64-bit machine, however, and it's bugged me in the past that there weren't versions capable of taking full advantage of the improvements offered by the extra power of 2. The author of this site basically created 64-bit packages of his own for nigh-on a hundred different Python packages, usually for several different versions. Which brings me to my second point.

The Python 3.x line came out a few years ago, and for various reasons having to do with certain inefficient and old aspects of the language was made incompatible with previous versions. What this meant is that new versions of old Python packages had to be reworked, which can often take a long time. There are a few key Python packages that I've wanted to get for quite some time but which were not available for the 3.x line yet. I didn't want to be shackled into using an older version (which would, eventually, die out), so I held off on getting them. Anyway, the point is, many of the packages on this site have versions for the 3.x line that I didn't previously know about, despite checking the official sites every few months. I went on a bit of an installation frenzy Monday night as a result, and I'm itching to try out some of the new features of the packages I have now. Since several of the packages I got are bindings for various graphic-related tasks, you may get to see some of my experiments sometime in the future.

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