Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How hard is it to add IronPython support to Visual Studio?

Hard. Very hard.

Michael Foord has a good post about whether Microsoft cares about dynamic languages. Some people [who?] believe that because IronPython/IronRuby don't have full support in Visual Studio 2010 that Microsoft doesn't care about dynamic languages.

I think I can safely say that adding full, high-quality support for IronPython to Visual Studio would require at least a couple of man-years of work. The rabbit hole goes pretty deep when you consider all of the functionality that VS offers, not to mention the difficulty of doing IntelliSense well. I estimate they'd have to at least double the IronPython team to get full support into VS11. IronRuby would require the same commitment.

Also, IronPython and IronRuby have only recently got to the point where I would consider them production-ready. Thus, getting IronRuby or IronPython into VS2010 was never realistic.

Now, if they don't have some support in VS11 (VS2012?), well, that's a different story. At least the IronPython extensions should be pretty mature by then.

NWSGI 2.0 Release

I'm very pleased to announce the release of the final version of NWSGI 2.0. It's been a long road since it was first shown as "NWSGI 1.1 Preview1" way back in March. Since then most of the code has been overhauled to make maintenance easier and improve performance. IronPython has also come  a long way; the 2.6 release is a fantastic piece of work with much better performance and compatibility than 2.0. Both IronPython and NWSGI are reaching the point where it will soon be feasible to run most Python web apps with little to no modification – I'm hoping by this time next year that everything will "just work".

What's New

NWSGI 2.0 is mostly a lot of little changes that add up to a much better experience:

  • Easier configuration: In v1.0 there were different ways to configure NWSGI depending on your configuration. Now there is only one way to do it. The ambiguous options with multiple meanings are gone, and new options added to support the extra optional features of IronPython 2.6.
  • Better management UI: The new management UI is both easier to use and easier to maintain.
  • Performance improvements: NWSGI will now cache the WSGI callable and associated modules instead of reloading it each time. IronPython 2.6 is also much faster then 2.0.

More Information

My blog posts from earlier in the year are still relevant:

I'll be moving the information in these over to Codeplex soon, so that it's easier to find.

Please let me know what you think of the new release, and what it's being used for – I'm always curious to hear what people think.

IronPython Extensions for Visual Studio 0.4

UPDATE (Feb 28, 2010): The IronPython team recently announced IronPython Tools for Visual Studio, so this project is no longer being maintained.

Last week I uploaded version 0.4 of the IronPython Extensions for Visual Studio to BitBucket and the Visual Studio Gallery. This release includes a couple of new features and some minor performance improvements to the old features.

What's New

Squiggles! The editor will now underline inconsistent tabs (mixing tabs and spaces) and syntax errors. It doesn't currently display a tooltip explaining what the underline is for, or offer any automatic fixes, but those should be coming soon.
Also new is an interactive console for use in Visual Studio. The advantage this has over a normal IronPython console is that it will syntax-highlight the console history. Eventually I'd like to have it pull the colour scheme from the editor.
IronPython Interactive Console

What Else is Included

This release includes the features of the previous release – syntax highlighting and outlining of classes and functions – but I've improved the performance of both to make the editor a little snappier (not much, mind you – ever try running a profiler on all of Visual Studio?).

What's Next

Besides some minor changes to all of the existing features that I'd like to make, there are two big pieces missing: a project system and IntelliSense. IntelliSense is the more interesting of the two, so I think I'm going to tackle it next. If anyone wants to tackle the project system, let me know and I'll give you some pointers.