Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A bit of History

For those wondering, here's the history of JPype :

I always have a lot of projects going on. And in many cases, while I would prefer to use Python to implement them, requirements and/or convenience often steers me toward Java. Let's face it, when it comes to community mindshare, Python is no slouch, but Java definitely is the 500 lbs. gorilla.

But I really wanted to use Python, so I looked around to see how easy it was to mix the two. Jython (JPython at the time) was not an option because of general slowness and lack of feature support. I failed to successfully build the only python/java integration library I found. So I decided to build mine. That was back in may of 2004.

The initial versions (0.1 to 04) were more or less of prototype quality. The C++ code was extensive, with lots of Python extension type and lots of problems making Java classes behave like python classes. Java-specific code and Python-specific code were hopelessly locked together.

0.5 was a complete rewrite, with an eye towards separating the bridging code. Although the amount of C++ code didn't shrink, this saw the introduction of real, dynamically create, Python classes. No more trying to make extension types behave like regular python classes. This was almost perfect.

Major limitations include the inability to raise/except with straight java exception classes (needs to use the member PYEXC instead), and the inability to cleanly shutdown/restart a JVM.

JPype got it's first real test when Chas Emerick of Snowtide Informatics (www.snowtide.com) contacted me about polishing JPype for use in one of their product. I can honestly say the partnership has greatly benefited JPype, with all the improvements made then folded back into the code.

The release of 0.5 has been followed by a lengthy pause in development. Lack of time and interest in other issues being the major reasons. Now time has come to come to resume work towards that almost mythical 1.0 release. 0.6 will be out sometime in the coming months. The details of this, however, will have to be the subject of another post ...

Read back for more info later on.

4 Comments:

Blogger Pierce Wetter said...

jpype rocks!

7:31 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Does the Jtype support Linux/Mac Platform currently? Thanks.

10:02 AM  
Blogger Steve Menard said...

Yes it does, although you'll have to compile it yourself.

The standard Python installation tool will do it for you if you have the GCC compiler installed.

6:25 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

I've tried it. It is quite cool. Thanks.

9:49 AM  

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