Interview Chris Kiehl Gooey #Python making GUIs in Python

Here is an interview with Chris Kiehl, developer of Python package Gooey.  Gooey promises to turn (almost) any Python Console Program into a GUI application with one line


Ajay (A) What was your motivation for making Gooey?  

Chris (C)- Gooey came about after getting frustrated with the impedance mismatch between how I like to write and interact with software as a developer, and how the rest of the world interacts with software as consumers. As much as I love my glorious command line, delivering an application that first requires me to explain what a CLI even is feels a little embarrassing. Gooey was my solution to this. It let me build as complex of a program as I wanted, all while using a familiar tool chain, and with none of the complexity that comes with traditional desktop application development. When it was time to ship, I’d attach the Gooey decorator and get the UI side for free

A- Where can Gooey can be used potentially in industry? 

C- Gooey can be used anywhere where you bump into a mismatch  in computer literacy. One of its core strengths is opening up existing CLI tool chains to users that would otherwise be put off by the unfamiliar nature of the command line. With Gooey, you can expose something as complex as video processing with FFMPEG via a very friendly UI with almost negligible development effort.

A- What other packages have you authored or contributed in Python or other languages?

C- My Github is a smorgasbord  of half-completed projects. I have several tool-chain projects related to Gooey. These range from packagers, to web front ends, to example configs. However, outside of Gooey, I created pyRobot, which is a pure Python windows automation library. Dropler, a simple html5 drag-and-drop plugin for CKEditor. DoNotStarveBackup, a Scala program that backs up your Don’t Starve save file while playing (a program which I love, but others actively hate for being “cheating” (pfft..)). And, one of my favorites: Burrito-Bot. It’s a little program that played (and won!) the game Burrito Bison. This was one of the first big things I wrote when I started programming. I keep it around for time capsule, look-at-how-I-didn’t-know-what-a-for-loop-was sentimental reasons.

A- What attracted you to developing in Python. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of the language? 

C– I initially fell in love with Python for the same reasons everyone else does: it’s beautiful. It’s a language that’s simple enough to learn quickly, but has enough depth to be interesting after years of daily use.
Hands down, one of my favorite things about Python that gives it an edge over other languages is it’s amazing introspection. At its core, everything is a dictionary. If you poke around hard enough, you can access just about anything. This lets you do extremely interesting things with meta programming. In fact, this deep introspection of code is what allows Gooey to bootstrap itself when attached to your source file.
Python’s disadvantages vary depending on the space in which you operate. Its concurrency limitations can be extremely frustrating. Granted, you don’t run into them too often, but when you do, it is usually for show stopping reasons. The related side of that is its asynchronous capabilities. This has gotten better with Python3, but it’s still pretty clunky if you compare it to the tooling available to a language like  Scala.

A- How can we incentivize open source package creators the same we do it for app stores etc?

C- On an individual level, if I may be super positive, I’d argue that open source development is already so awesome that it almost doesn’t need to be further incentivized. People using, forking, and commiting to your project is the reward. That’s not to say it is without some pains — not everyone on the internet is friendly all the time, but the pleasure of collaborating with people all over the globe on a shared interest are tough to overstate.


Author: Ajay Ohri

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