[Twisted-Python] Re: Teach Me Twisted Redux

Glenn H Tarbox, PhD glenn at tarbox.org
Thu Mar 20 11:36:57 EDT 2008

On Thu, 2008-03-20 at 07:33 -0400, Steve Holden wrote:
> glyph at divmod.com wrote:
> As I believe I mentioned early on, one of the issues is that the Twisted 
> core developers are so smart (I believe I may have used the phrase 
> "brains the size of planets"), and so knowledgeable about Twisted, that 
> it's difficult sometimes to get a 90% answer out of them. This was 
> particularly the case with Itamar, whom I lambasted quite mercilessly 
> (and whom I therefore owe a public apology: sorry, Itamar) when he tried 
> to complete all the corner cases after a slightly inaccurate statement 
> on my part that was perfectly good enough for a learner.

There is a great deal of anecdotal evidence that great players make poor

One of the biggest (glaring?) issues with Twisted is the abysmal state
of the documentation (none) making the code the best source... and
history is replete with the massive successes that approach has borne...

What documentation there is includes: "If you need to call a method that
returns a deferred within your callback chain, just return that
deferred, and the result of the secondary deferred's processing chain
will become the result that gets passed to the next callback of the
primary deferreds processing chain"

Now, the above is true and clear to those of us who know twisted... but
I've used that quote for levity... its simply incomprehensible... but
absolutely critical to understanding the power of twisted.  I'd say that
the current state of twisted documentation is in part represented by
that quote... and much of the reason twisted gets thrown out early as an

(yet this same group complains that Git is too complex to be used for
source code control... even though its core architecture eclipses the
alternatives being used and considered...)

Clearly, the issues Twisted addresses are non-trivial requiring an
appreciation of the problem space before considering Twisted as a
solution (you gotta know there's a question before someone tells you the
answer)... unfortunately, the barrier to Twisted entry at that point
makes most walk away.  I've seen lots of threads concluding, simply,
that twisted looked interesting but was simply too dense to even get
started with... so, they go ahead and roll their own solution,
inevitably identifying the issues which form heart of the twisted
architecture, but being too far along to refactor.  And away we go.

Exacerbating the problem is the state of the twisted code base.  The
core itself is clean, high performance and great.  But, there's a large
percentage of the code base in various states of decay.  Some clearly
marked as no longer supported... but most simply marked "undocumented"
and much of the rest necessitating querying #twisted, hopefully at a
time when someone is available to answer questions... twisted-web
appears to be worse from a documentation perspective and I'm one of
those who chose to "just walk away" when a web framework was necessary.

For example, I've been playing with Twisted for a while now and only
recently stumbled upon AMP... perhaps thats a personal issue and I do
have fundamental intelligence limitations... but perhaps its

> What we possibly need first of all is for someone to do a "Teach Me 
> Teach Me" in the tutorial track, with myself and a number of the more 
> experienced trainer types as the "subject matter experts". These things 
> are always one-off in nature and it's unrealistic to expect that they 
> will all have the same charm as "Teach Me Twisted" did this year for all 
> the reasons I mention above, but if it gets information out more 
> effectively about "difficult" topics it's probably worth a try if we can 
> find someone to facilitate them.

What we need is a core documentation / presentation / communication
strategy to communicate what twisted is and a vehicle to support
education.  Handling conferences is a degenerate case which requires
extension with malt beverages.

> regards
>   Steve
> > On 16 Mar, 07:33 pm, steve at holdenweb.com wrote:
> >> I'd just like to thank the Twisted community for their support in 
> >> yesterday's "Teach Me Twisted" Open Space session. To see the room 
> >> still half-full of people talking animatedly about Python twenty 
> >> minutes after the session ended was a great tribute to how interested 
> >> people are in making Twisted work for them, and a reminder of what 
> >> PyCon is all about. I haven't ever enjoyed any PyCon activity so much.
> >>
> >> Couldn't have done it without you,guys, thanks a million.
> >>
> >> regards
> >>  Steve
> _______________________________________________
> Twisted-Python mailing list
> Twisted-Python at twistedmatrix.com
> http://twistedmatrix.com/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/twisted-python
Glenn H. Tarbox, PhD
glenn at tarbox.org

More information about the Twisted-Python mailing list